Did you know that tennis is not the only game in town in Paris this weekend?
We overlooked the fact that the Aussie women’s sevens are in the City of Lights for tournament play and will in all probability have to play the Kiwis for the championship without three of their best players.
The Pearls will be missing Olympic Sevens gold medalists Sharni Williams, Ellia Green and Alicia Quirk.
Three from 15 might be doable, but three from seven is a tall order indeed.
Charlotte Caslick and Shannon Parry will serve as co-captains for Williams. The workloads of Emma Tonegato and Emilee Cherry will increase exponentially. Newly installed Coach John Manenti finds himself in a similar position to Justin Langer, who is also missing three players, although for dissimilar reasons.
The timing of Williams’, Green’s and Quirk’s absences could not be worse. The Pearls won the first two legs of the World Series, going through play in Sydney without surrendering one single, solitary point, but the Kiwis have won the last two legs, including a 46 – 0 sledging in the Commonwealth of Canada.
Speaking to reporters in remarks picked up by the AAP, Manenti said, and we swear we are not making this up, “The ball is in our court now to finish the year strongly.”
We are not certain if he was engaging in typical coach-speak, or if he was deliberately tossing a tennis analogy out for consumption. If it was the latter, we have to say we like the bloke.
“We know the challenge and we know the opposition. We have a tough pool … our first goal is to get through the pool in good shape and then we will take it from there,” Manenti said.
We are quite certain that he was not trying to wedge a swimming analogy in on us, as it can be challenging to find a well ordered shower bath in Paris.