Five to watch at women's rugby sevens
05 August 2016, 09:40
Rio de Janeiro - Five to watch at the Olympic women's rugby sevens which starts on Saturday:
EMILY SCARRATT (GBR)
Scarratt heads up a British team featuring just one non-English player in Wales's Jasmine Joyce. After six months together, England captain Scarratt, who scored 16 points to help England 15s win the 2014 World Cup, is under no illusion what gold would mean in Rio. "The World Cup at the moment is the biggest achievement I've had in my career and any Olympic achievement would be right up there alongside it." Importantly, Scarratt has led her side to victories over Australia (twice) and New Zealand on the 2015-16 series, as well as a first title in more than three years, in the Langford round in April.
PORTIA WOODMAN (NZL)
While the New Zealand team features Sonny Bill Williams' sister, Niall, the real star is Woodman, the 2015 Women's Sevens Player of the Year. Woodman is a points machine, the winger amassing most through a mix of brutality, power and pace. The former netballer was one of more than 1,000 women who went along to the Go4Gold trials across New Zealand and she was quickly identified as ideal for sevens. How right the spotters were, with Woodman now the all-time leading try-scorer in World Rugby Women's Sevens Series history having scored 119 tries over four seasons. She has lost none of her pace or lethal footwork, a skill honed in her netball days, and will be a thorn in any team's side.
GHISLAINE LANDRY (CAN)
Last season's women's Sevens Series leading points scorer, Landry is a key member of the Canada team. The playmaker is an expert reader of the game, able to pull strings from midfield and with enough speed and power to be able to finish off. Only Woodman has scored more than Landry's 575 points in the history of the series and her importance to Canada's hopes of winning gold cannot be underestimated. "I'm excited to see what the world is going to do when they see rugby sevens for the first time," Landry said. "I've never met anyone who's just watched rugby sevens for the first time who wasn't impressed with the speed, power and athleticism of the game. I think it's going to explode!"
ELLIA GREEN (AUS)
Australia go into the tournament as top seeds and it is in no small part thanks to the 'Green Machine'. Green's guile and grace are the trademark of an explosive player capable of blazing around most defences. She grew up dreaming of running the 100m or 200m on the Olympic stage, but will instead bid to help Australia add sevens gold to their series title and ensure 2016 is a year they'll never forget. Seventeen tries in the three rounds she played on the 2015-16 series shows how dangerous Green is and her pace and power will be key to Australia's hopes of gold.
JILLION POTTER (USA)
Potter has proved to be an inspiration for the ever-improving US team, the 30-year-old having first overcome a broken neck and then a rare form of soft tissue cancer to return to the women's Eagles Sevens squad for the start of the 2015-16 series. Coach Richie Walker has said it was "quite an honour" to coach her and that "she has made the team stronger". Inspiration aside, Potter has shown herself as a grafter never to shy away from the hard, often unseen work required in the high-octane game of sevens.