No Green in Aussie gold medal defense; Kerevi in men's team

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SYDNEY (AP) — Co-captains Shannon Parry and Sharni Williams are among five players returning to the defending champion Australia women’s rugby sevens side for the Tokyo Olympics.

Emma Tonegato, Evania Pelite and Charlotte Caslick are also returning for their second Olympics, with the major omission being renowned tryscorer Ellia Green.

The Australian women beat New Zealand in the final at Rio de Janeiro in 2016, winning the first gold medal ever awarded in rugby sevens at the Olympics.

Wallabies center Samu Kerevi has bolstered the Australian men's team, which will be led by Nick Malouf.

The 33-test midfielder returned from playing club rugby in Japan in a bid to make his debut in the sevens format at Tokyo.

The Australian men's team will play in a difficult pool containing New Zealand, Argentina and South Korea. Defending champion Fiji, silver medalist Britain and Japan — three of the top-four finishers in Rio — are in another pool. The men's competition will be held July 26-28,

The Australian women have been drawn against the United States, China and hosts Japan for the group stage, which starts July 29.

John Manenti, head coach of the Australian women's team, said picking this Olympic squad to defend the Olympic title off such limited international competition has been the most challenging of his career.

“As coaches, we have selected the best performing squad, and while some decisions were tough, ultimately, we have selected a team which will put us in the best position to perform," he said in a statement Saturday. “This is a new team and we’ll be looking to write our own Olympic chapter.”

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Australia squads:

Men: Nick Malouf (captain), Lachlan Anderson, Joe Pincus, Dylan Pietsch, Henry Paterson, Maurice Longbottom, Joshua Coward, Joshua Turner, Lachlan Miller, Samu Kerevi, Dietrich Roache, Henry Hutchison.

Women: Shannon Parry (co-captain), Sharni Williams (co-captain), Faith Nathan, Dominique Du Toit, Emma Tonegato, Evania Pelite, Charlotte Caslick, Madison Ashby, Tia Hinds, Sariah Paki, Demi Hayes, Maddison Levi.

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More AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2020-tokyo-olympics and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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