Moleka, Halse headline Commonwealth Youth Games Sevens squad

Mon, Jun 5, 2023, 3:29 AM
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
Wallaroos rising stars Faitala Moleka and Caitlyn Halse have been included in Australia's squad for August's Commonwealth Youth Games in Trinidad and Tobago. Photo: Brumbies Media
Wallaroos rising stars Faitala Moleka and Caitlyn Halse have been included in Australia's squad for August's Commonwealth Youth Games in Trinidad and Tobago. Photo: Brumbies Media

Wallaroos rising stars Faitala Moleka and Caitlyn Halse have been included in Australia's Sevens squad for August's Commonwealth Youth Games in Trinidad and Tobago.

The Australians are the defending champions after taking gold in 2017 in the Bahamas, which included Triple-Crown winner Lily Dick and Wallaroos duo Layne Morgan and Arabella McKenzie.

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They have never lost in the Women's event, with co-captain Demi Hayes and Dominique Du Toit guiding them to victory in 2015.

Moleka is coming off a dream debut for the Wallaroos, guiding them to victory against Fijiana last month, eager to test her skills in the shorter format

“It’s a blessing,” she told Rugby.com.au

“I’m so grateful I’ve been given this opportunity to represent Australia at Sevens now. It’s so good.

“To represent Australia at the Youth Comm Games means so much and it’s exciting, means a lot to me.

“It meant a lot to me and my family (to play for the Wallaroos) what we’ve been through to debut for Wallaroos at 18.

“The standard and skill level was so high. The speed and rucks were so much faster than Super W so it was tough to get used to but it was great.

“15s (is the preference) but to be given the opportunity in Sevens, I’m eager to give it a crack, excited for a lot of running.”

The squad is dominated by talent from the AON Next Gen Sevens competition, set to be coached by legend Shannon Parry.

The team has an amazing opportunity ahead of them, as they head to Trinidad and Tobago for the Youth Commonwealth Games,” Parry said.

“There’s a good balance of both youth and experience within the group, which will serve them well in their pursuit of a win.

“Many of these players will be pulling on the green and gold at a multi-sport event for the very first time, as they challenge themselves against some of the best athletes from around the world.

“Preparations have been going well and the squad has bonded at various camps over the past few months. The girls are hugely excited for the tournament ahead.”

It will mark Parry's first venture into coaching following her retirement from Rugby during that Fijiana Test.

Moleka, who will spend time between the Wallaroos and Sevens programs, admits it'll be a 'weird' feeling being coached by Parry after running out behind her at Allianz Stadium.

“I first found her as a coach before I even played with her so I’m used to it,” Moleka explained.

“Just having a trial the week before camp, having her play with me and the next week she’s coach is pretty weird.

“She’s very detail-orientated when it comes to her approach.”

Australia's Sevens side for August Commonwealth Youth Games

Damita Betham

Lucinda Bourke

Anaia Cruickshank

Mackenzie David

Heidi Dennis

Fleurr Ginn

Rhani Hagen

Amahli-Sieli Hala

Caitlyn Halse

Leilani Hills

Faitala Moleka

Piper Simons

Ava Wereta

Coach: Shannon Parry

The Australian 7s side will be playing between the 6th-8th August 2023. Where to watch yet to come.

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