Eight Queenslanders have been named across the Australian Women's and Men's Sevens squads ahead of a blockbuster 2021-22 season, which is set to feature the global return of the World Series, the 2022 Commonwealth Games and Rugby World Cup Sevens.
The season kicks off in Dubai on 26 November and will mark Australia’s return to the World Sevens Series for the first time since March 2020 before the Commonwealth Games in July and Rugby World Cup Sevens in September in South Africa.
Seven Queensland products feature in the Women’s program, with promising Gold Coast sisters Maddison and Tegan Levi making the move south after the duo’s standout performances in the Aon Uni 7s series and Maddison's breakout showing at the Tokyo Olympics.
The pair are joined by Charlotte Caslick, Alysia Lefau-Fakaosilea, Lily Dick and Dom du Toit – all of whom featured in the 2020 games – while dual Olympian Nick Malouf is the sole Queensland representative in the Men’s squad.
Of the seven Queensland women named in the squad, six of the players are graduates of the Queensland Academy of Sport (QAS) Women’s Sevens Academy, with the Levi sisters being the latest talents to progress through Queensland’s pathway, beginning with their school – Miami State High – in Q7s tournaments.
In the most significant change to the program structure since the sides centralised in 2014, the Men's squad will now work collaboratively with the Australian Super Rugby clubs, empowering players to work across the XVs and Sevens format of the game to gain experience in both arenas.
Director of Rugby Scott Johnson said: "It's a really exciting time for our Sevens programs with an important three years ahead featuring the Commonwealth Games, Rugby World Cup 7s and Paris Olympics ahead.
"The new collaborative approach between our sevens programs and the Super Rugby clubs will ensure there are opportunities for all of our elite development players to get game time at an international level, benefiting both formats of our game.
"Our players and staff have put in a lot of work to get the teams ready for their return to the World Series, and we're looking forward to seeing them in action next weekend."
Australian Sevens Performance Manager Scott Bowen said: "Firstly we're incredibly grateful to be able to represent Australia again on the World Series, and it's something which isn't lost on the squads.
"We've been building a lot of depth in our program for a number of years now through our pathway programs, so the newly contracted sides very much represent a reset as we turn our attention not only to the World Series but also Birmingham in 2022 and Paris in 2024.
"We have a total of eight uncapped players across the program, as well as a strong group of younger players on development contracts who are pushing into the main squads.
"While we've lost a lot of our players, who joined the program back in 2014 when we centralised, I have every confidence in the new group we have assembled and am looking forward to seeing them write the next chapter," Bowen said.
2021-22 Australian Women’s Sevens National Squad:
Rhiannon Byers, 10 caps
Charlotte Caslick, 33 caps (Brisbane)
Lily Dick, 5 caps (Gold Coast)
Dominique Du Toit, 15 caps (Toowoomba)
Demi Hayes, 12 caps (Glenmorgan)
Madison Ashby, 5 caps
Tia Hinds, *
Alysia Lefau-Fakaosilea, * (Brisbane)
Maddison Levi, * (Gold Coast)
Teagan Levi, * (Gold Coast)
Faith Nathan, 4 caps
Sariah Paki, 10 caps
Cassie Staples, 12 caps
Bienne Terita, *
Jakiya Whitfeld, 1 cap
Sharni Williams, 35 caps
2021-22 Australian Men’s Sevens National Squad:
Henry Hutchison, 32 caps
Nathan Lawson, *
Maurice Longbottom, 20 caps
Nick Malouf, 40 caps (Brisbane)
Henry Paterson, *
Dietrich Roache, *
Joshua Turner, 6 caps
Darby Lancaster, *
*Denotes uncapped player
Note: Caps reflect World Series Tournaments