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

BRISBANE, Australia – Charlotte Caslick will lead Australia's World Series champion team to the Olympic Games in Paris, where she will seek to win her second gold medal after winning the honour in rugby sevens' inaugural event at the 2016 Summer Olympics.

The Australian women's and men's teams for Paris were confirmed on Wednesday, with Caslick and Sharni Smale on the women's team and Nick Malouf and Henry Hutchison on the men's team expected to become three-time Olympians.

“We've worked really hard to get to this point where we're going for a gold medal,” said Caslick, 29, a two-time World Sevens Series player of the year. “I've enjoyed every moment of being able to lead these players and we're in a good position.”

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

After beating New Zealand in rugby sevens and winning the first ever Olympic gold medal, the Australian women failed to make the medal playoffs in Tokyo.

But the women's team comes to Paris as series champions, having narrowly defeated Tokyo Olympic champions New Zealand in the semi-finals of the series finale last month and then beaten France in the battle for the title.

The women's team was placed alongside Ireland, South Africa and Great Britain in the 12-team Olympic tournament from July 28 to 30.

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

The Australian men reached the finals at two stops on the World Series tour and finished fourth in the league phase behind Argentina, Ireland and New Zealand.

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

“A special congratulations to Sharni, Charlotte, Nick and Henry, who are the first athletes in their sport to compete in three Olympic Games – they blazed the trail in Rio and are now making history in Paris,” said Australia’s Deputy Chef de Mission Ken Wallace.


Australian squad:

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.


AP Summer Olympics: