RARE TALENT: Sunshine Coast product Rachel Crothers.
RARE TALENT: Sunshine Coast product Rachel Crothers. GETTY IMAGES

Crothers’ comeback on track for Dubai

RACHEL Crothers' own leg has succeeded where so many opponents have failed - it has slowed her down.

An ill-timed quad injury has hampered the Coast sensation's return journey to the Dubai rugby sevens ground she gatecrashed as an unknown rookie 12 months ago.

The former beach sprinter has been battling to overcome a quad strain in time to make the Australian team for next month's Sevens World Series opener in Dubai.

The 20-year-old has not played since starring for Australia in the Noosa International Sevens last month but hopes she has done enough to impress coach Tim Walsh, who names his squad today.

"I missed a few opportunities to play some games and stuff but that's alright, injuries happen," she said.

"I've been back at training for about a week and I think it's alright."

Crothers made a remarkable rise through the rugby ranks to star for Australia in its win at the IRB Sevens World Series at Dubai this time last year.

THE outside back scored a hat-trick, including the try that sealed the match in what has been touted as one of the greatest comebacks in sevens rugby history.

Australia managed to run down New Zealand to win 35-27 after trailing 27-7 following a quick Kiwi start.

The 20-year-old had no previous representative honours to speak of before impressing Australian selectors with her speed and agility while playing for the Australian Services team.

"I want to be back in Dubai this time but I've really just got to wait to see who's selected in the team," she said.

Crothers, a former student of the Coast's Siena Catholic College, is the fastest of four specialist wingers.

She is breathtakingly talented with the ball, too, but faces stiff competition from fellow wingers Ellia Green, Emma Tonegato and Taleena Simon, who are all also world-class sprinters.

"As (Walsh) has said in the past, there's a lot of competition at my position, so it has been hard being out," Crothers said.

Crothers is still a newcomer to the sport after growing up doing surf lifesaving and playing limited 15-a-side rugby union with her school team. "I only really learned to tackle last year and my first proper rugby tournament was playing for Australia in Shanghai," she said.

Her rugby knowledge and game skills have increased since the start of the year when rugby sevens became her full-time job and she was able to train every day.

This rugby sevens series looms as the most important in the short history of the sport, with the top four teams winning automatic selection into the 2016 Olympic Games.

"I'm in a very competitive position but I've just got to keep working hard and hopefully I'll get my opportunity," she said.

"There are six tournaments so there will be plenty of chances."


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