Olympic champion Caslick set to lead Australia's charge for rugby sevens gold at Paris Games


BRISBANE, Australia — Charlotte Caslick will lead Australia’s world series champion squad to the Paris Olympics, where she’s aiming to win her second gold medal after taking the honors when rugby sevens made its debut at the Summer Games in 2016.

The women’s and men’s Australian squads for Paris were confirmed Wednesday, with Caslick and Sharni Smale on the women’s squad and Nick Malouf and Henry Hutchison on the men’s squad set to become three-time Olympians.

“We’ve worked really hard to get to this point where we are chasing a gold medal,” said the 29-year-old Caslick, a two-time world sevens series player of the year. “I’ve loved every moment of being able to lead these players and we’re in a good place.

“Paris is an incredible city that will bring the best out of our players. We can’t wait to get over there.”

After edging New Zealand for the first Olympic gold ever awarded in rugby sevens, the Australian women failed to make it into the medal playoffs in Tokyo.

But the women’s team enters Paris as the world series champions after edging Tokyo Olympic gold medalist New Zealand in the semifinals of the series finale last month and then beating France for the title.

The women’s team has been grouped with Ireland, South Africa and Britain in the 12-team Olympic tournament from July 28-30.

The men’s squad includes Mark Nawaqanitawase, who recently decided to leave rugby union and sign with the Sydney Roosters in the National Rugby League.

Australia’s men reached finals on two stops of the world series tour, placing fourth in the league stage behind Argentina, Ireland and New Zealand.

The men’s tournament kicks off the rugby sevens competition on July 24, two days before the official opening ceremony with Australia in a group against Argentina, Samoa and Kenya.

“A special congratulations to Sharni, Charlotte, Nick and Henry on becoming the first athletes in their sport to compete at three Olympics — they were trailblazers in Rio and now history-makers in Paris,” Australia’s deputy chef de mission Ken Wallace said.

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Australia squads:

Women: Charlotte Caslick (captain), Sharni Smale, Dominique du Toit, Tia Hinds, Maddison Levi, Faith Nathan, Sariah Paki, Bridget Clark, Teagan Levi, Isabella Nasser, Kaitlin Shave and Bienne Terita.

Men: Nick Malouf (captain), Henry Hutchison, Nathan Lawson, Maurice Longbottom, Dietrich Roache, Ben Dowling, Matthew Gonzalez, Mark Nawaqanitawase, Henry Paterson, Hayden Sargeant, Corey Toole and James Turner.

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AP Summer Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2024-paris-olympic-games



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