SYDNEY, July 2 (Reuters) - Former Wallabies centre Samu Kerevi has been included in Australia’s rugby sevens squad for the Tokyo Olympics but Ella Green missed out on selection for the women’s team that will defend the title they won in Rio.
Fiji-born Kerevi, who moved to Japan after the last Rugby World Cup but returned to Australia earlier this year to join the sevens programme, was one of three uncapped players named in the 12-man party headed for Tokyo on Saturday.
Flying winger Green, also born in Fiji, was one of Australia’s standout players when they won the inaugural women’s gold medal five years ago but a succession of injuries has hampered her run-in to the tournament.
Another Rio gold medallist, Chloe Dalton, missed out because of a fractured cheekbone but Charlotte Caslick as well as co-captains Sharni Williams and Shannon Parry are among those who will be returning to defend the Olympic title.
“This has arguably been one of the most challenging team selection processes in my career as a coach,” said women’s coach John Manenti. “As coaches, we have selected the best performing squad, and while some decisions were tough, ultimately, we have selected a team which will put us in the best position to perform.”
Australia’s women will play the United States, China and hosts Japan in the opening round pool phase, while the men will take on co-favourites New Zealand, Argentina and South Korea in the round robin.
The men’s team features two indigenous Australians in Maurice Longbottom and Dylan Pietsch, who will both be making their Olympic debuts in Japan.
Women’s squad - Shannon Parry, Sharni Williams, Faith Nathan, Dominique Du Toit, Emma Tonegato, Evania Pelite, Charlotte Caslick, Madison Ashby, Tia Hinds, Sariah Paki, Demi Hayes, Maddison Levi
Men’s squad - Lachlan Anderson, Joe Pincus, Dylan Pietsch, Nicholas Malouf, Henry Paterson, Maurice Longbottom, Joshua Coward, Joshua Turner, Lachlan Miller, Samu Kerevi, Dietrich Roache, Henry Hutchison (Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Jane Wardell)