Australia hung tough to win a World Series title without their unsung hero but co-captain Sharni Williams plans to show just what they missed at this weekend’s rugby sevens World Cup in California.
Williams, one of just four in the squad to play at Russia’s 2013 World Cup, missed most of the side’s Commonwealth Games campaign in April thanks to an ankle injury on day one.
But the Canberran is back for the ruthless knock-out tournament to be played at the picturesque AT&T Park, which normally houses Major League Baseball’s San Francisco Giants.
The qualified mechanic is the quiet achiever of a women’s sevens side that holds both Olympic and World Series crowns.
But she’s happy to leave the spotlight to high-profile backs like Charlotte Caslick, who recently recommitted to the code despite poaching efforts ahead of the inaugural women’s NRL competition later this year.
“I can bring that physicality and mongrel and leave it to the girls with the ponytails to finish it off,” a cheeky Williams told AAP.
“Being in rehab makes you realise how good your job is; myself and Ellia Green (knee) are just firing, have that fire in the belly and can’t wait to get out there.
“I want to show the girls what they’ve been missing.”
Williams’ roll-up-your-sleeves attitude sits well with new coach John Manenti, who has emphasised the importance of dominating the breakdown since taking over from new men’s coach Tim Walsh.
Manenti coached Williams and fellow co-captain Shannon Parry when he took the Wallaroos to bronze at the 2010 15-a-side world cup.
The Black Ferns beat Australia in extra time to win gold at April’s Commonwealth Games and then claimed the last three legs of the world series to finish just two points shy of the consistent Australia.
Williams missed all three tournaments, with Manenti blooding a host of young talent that found a way to a second world series title.
“I barely saw them for three, four months after the Commonwealth Games but I was so proud of how they hung in there,” she said.
“We really want this but we know if we lose we’re out, so we have to be very prepared from the outset.”
Australia plays Papua New Guinea on Saturday morning (AEST), with the final on Sunday afternoon.