Ebony Satala and Asena Roko will make their HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series debuts for Fijiana in the final round in Clermont-Ferrand on 28-29 May.

Coach Iliesa Tanivula has been preparing the team in the absence of coaching director Chris Cracknell who is away with the men’s team looking to secure a second successive series crown.

Three players will not travel to France with Litiana Naiqata, Lavenia Tinai and Timaima Tavisa rested with niggling injuries to ensure they are fit for the build up to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in August.

“There’s two new girls, not new but first time to the series,” Tanivula told The Fiji Times. “Training has been intense, there are some niggling injuries, but the bigger picture is August in Rio. 

“A few of the regulars are not travelling due to the injuries. It’s more of a safety than the actual injury because we are looking at them to do good rehab, recover before we get on in the intense training programme in June-July before August in Rio.”

Fijiana will face series leaders Australia, hosts France and Ireland in Pool C at the Stade Gabriel-Montpied.

 Fiji squad: Brittany Coates, Talica Vodo, Ebony Satala, Jiowana Sauto, Viniana Riwai, Merewai Cumu, Miriama Naiobasali, Asena Roko, Rebecca Tavo, Ana Maria Roqica, Luisa Basei, Rusila Nagasau.

STAR NAMES RETURN FOR AUSTRALIA

Series leaders Australia have brought back the big guns for the final round of the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series in Clermont-Ferrand, an event which could see them become their country’s first ever series champions.

Sharni Williams (pictured) and Ellia Green return from injury while Alicia Quirk, Emma Tonegato and Charlotte Caslick reclaim their places after being rested for the previous round in Canada, where Australia added a third-place finish to their three titles this season.
 

"What better way to prepare for an Olympics?"

Australia sevens coach Tim Walsh

 
Williams, who will share the captaincy with Shannon Parry who has led the side in her absence, has been missing since undergoing knee surgery after the opening round in Dubai last December, while speedster Green missed the North American trip due to a shoulder injury.
 
The squad selected by coach Tim Walsh is Australia’s most experienced ever with 159 series events between them and one which, should closest rivals New Zealand win in France, need only to finish sixth or better to be crowned series champions.
 
“The squad has laid down the foundations for a history-making opportunity,” said Walsh, whose side lead New Zealand by 12 points in the series with England a further two adrift.
 
“To win a world title does not come around very often and to win the most prestigious series in women’s rugby would be a huge honour. The series demands respect and that is what we have given it from day one. Also, what better way to prepare for an Olympics?
 
“That said, it’s one game at a time for us. We expect nothing less than professional preparation and high performance from each other. Our pool is very competitive and I can see France in particular being strong on their home turf while Ireland and Fiji have demonstrated on more than one occasion what they are capable of.
 
“Shannon has led the team as captain terrifically well over the past three tournaments and making her co-captain takes some of the load from Sharni’s shoulders. It really allows her to focus on performance after a lengthy injury. Our priority first and foremost is to get Sharni firing again and getting back to the form that sees her as one of the premier forwards in the game.”
 
Australia squad: Shannon Parry, Sharni Williams, Nicole Beck, Tiana Penitani, Emma Tonegato, Evania Pelite, Charlotte Caslick, Chloe Dalton, Amy Turner, Alicia Quirk, Emilee Cherry, Ellia Green. 13th player: Georgie Friedrichs.

THREE CHANGES FOR FRANCE

Hosts France have made three changes to the squad that reached the semi-finals in Langford for the HSBC World Rugby Women's Sevens Series finale in Clermont-Ferrand on 28-29 May.

Elodie Guiglion, Christelle le Duff (pictured) and Rose Thomas all return with Laurelin Fourcade, Clemence Gueucier and Laurianne Lissar dropping down to the squad which will play in the invitational event in London this coming weekend.

The core of the Les Bleues squad will again be key to any hopes France have of reaching a first ever Cup final in their home event, the newest stop on the world series.

"We are very happy to be able to play in Clermont-Ferrand to be able to show how sevens is important worldwide because in France we don't really know this game," said captain Fanny Horta. "We are also very excited to show our country to the world." 

France will open their campaign at the Stade Gabriel-Montpied against Ireland, a side they have never lost to on the series, before tackling the unpredictable Fijians.

They will conclude their Pool C matches against series leaders Australia, a side they have not beaten in 11 attempts and lost to twice in round four, including 19-12 in the third place play-off.

France squad: Amedee Montserrat, Camille Grassineau, Lina Guerin, Elodie Guiglion, Fanny Horta (captain), Shannon Izar, Caroline Ladagnous, Christelle le Duff, Jade le Pesq, Marjorie Mayans, Chloe Pelle, Rose Thomas, Jessy Tremouliere.

TWO CHANGES FOR IRELAND

Aoife Doyle and Susan Vaughan will make their first appearances of the 2015-16 HSBC World Rugby Women's Sevens Series in Clermont-Ferrand, the only two changes to the squad from the North American rounds last month.

"We've been drawn into a challenging pool with France, Australia and Fiji," admitted Anthony Eddy, IRFU Director of Sevens and Women's Rugby. 

"France will no doubt be looking to put in a good performance in front of a home crowd and Australia will have their sights on the overall 2015-16 World Series title, having won three of the four stages this season. We then meet Fiji in the final game on Saturday and they are always a tough side to play against.

"Since returning from Atlanta and Canada the players have been very focused and have been training well together so we will be looking to finish the World Series on a positive note this weekend."

The HSBC Clermont-Ferrand Sevens will be the last tournament for Ireland before they host the global repechage tournament in Dublin on 25-26 June with the winner claiming the 12th and final place at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
 
Ireland squad: Ashleigh Baxter, Aoife Doyle, Kim Flood, Stacey Flood, Alison Miller, Lucy Mulhall (captain), Amee Leigh Murphy-Crowe, Sene Naoupu, Audrey O'Flynn, Hannah Tyrell, Susan Vaughan, Megan Williams.