The Aussie 7’s team will head into this weekend’s World Series tournament in France needing only need a 6th place to take the world title - but they’ll still be giving it everything they’ve got.
Erin Byrnes

27 May 2016 - 8:26 AM  UPDATED 27 May 2016 - 8:32 AM

The team will seal the World Series title with a sixth place or better in France this weekend, and they’re raring to go

Everyone is really, really excited. It’s been a while since we’ve played and we’ve just come off the back of a really hard pre-season, so we’re just keen to get on the plane and get over there and get into it, and hopefully bring home that World Series title.

Will they save something the tank for Rio?

We’re taking our strongest team at the moment and we want to try and use it as a final finishing off before the Olympics. So we want to win this tournament, finish on a high note, and keeping ticking all those boxes in the lead up to Rio. So yeah, we’ve taken our most experienced team ever so far. We’ve been blessed with the return of Sharni Williams, Ellia Green, Evania Pelite, and then Charlotte, myself and Emma Tonegato, who were rested for Canada, we’re all back too. So we’re going in red hot looking to bring that title home.

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Not only do they want to win, but spots in the final Olympics squad are still on the line.

Everyone is putting their best foot forward and having that kind of competition only makes the whole squad better. So, like any sport, it’s going to be cut-throat and brutal when it comes down to making those decisions for the final team, but we’re one big tight-knit family and we’re all just working hard to push each other and making sure that we’re the best at our best, and if you don’t get picked it’s just because the other girl was better.

Despite the competition for spots, the team has never been tighter - Shannon Parry recently penned a letter to her 16 year old self that said: “You and 19 of your best friends will change rugby in this country”

That’s probably one of the best things I’ve ever read from Shannon and it’s 100% true. I live with my team mates, playing with them every day, we’ve been centralised in Sydney, so our wider friendship groups aren’t that big, so we really only have each other. And for a group of 21 girls that hang in day in/day out and travel the world with each other, we get along so well and I think that’s the reason why we do so well and we have such great success, is because we actually are just best friends and we enjoy the footy that we’re playing and we have so much fun when we do it. If something goes wrong you know that your team mates are going to have your back, because they’re your best mates.

Parry is right - the team are turning heads in Australia

That’s one of the things our coach, Tim Walsh, wanted to establish was not only success for ourselves, but to establish a platform for young girls to aspire to have the same dreams as what we have and to have that same enjoyment and fun as what we do when we play. So what we do on the field, if that can help change the game for women’s rugby then we’re so proud that we get to set that example for other people. It’s amazing to see, when people actually watch us they’re so surprised at how fit and fast and exciting the game is, but then how feminine and whatnot that the girls are as well. The more we play and the more exposure we get, it’s only going to turn more and more heads, so that’s what we’re all about.

But they’re keeping a lid on their success

I guess we’ve kind of had this vision and this dream for four years, like since we all kind of started playing, and we talk about it so often that it just becomes a normality. So I guess it’s not more of a keeping a lid on it, it’s just kind of like keeping in check with it and keeping in tune, just keep talking about it so it doesn’t become this phenomenon that’s not attainable. We’re a very process- driven team, so we just tick the boxes, do the things we’ve got to do, that kind of stuff. Sounds very cliché, but that’s just how we go about our business. And yeah, you do find yourself pinching yourself in those moments, where you’re like ‘I could actually be going to the Olympics or have the opportunity’.

And no matter what happens this weekend, they’ll be straight back into it

We get one day off in Paris after [this weekend]. Hopefully we’ll be able to indulge in a few croissants or something like that, if we do win.

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