Rugby Australia has confirmed captain Sharni Williams and Shannon Parry have re-committed to helping the team defend the women’s rugby sevens Olympic title at Tokyo 2020.
Williams and Parry agreed to a further 12 months following the postponement of the Olympic Games in Tokyo to 2021, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Both players were co-captains of the side that beat New Zealand 24-17 in the gold medal match at Rio 2016.
"We’re really excited to lock in Sharni and Shannon for our Tokyo campaign," John Manenti, Australia’s women’s rugby sevens head coach, said.
"Both women are outstanding Rugby players but also fantastic leaders in their own right and they have done a huge amount for women’s rugby in Australia.
"Their character on and off the field is well known, but it also how they prepare and guide this team through the highs and lows of rugby sevens that make them such assets to Australian rugby."
Rugby Australia said both players began their rugby careers as 15s players before switching over to the newly formed professional Australian Women’s Sevens programme in 2013, then led by Tim Walsh.
Williams has amassed 35 sevens caps, while Parry has achieved 34.
Both players have also captained Australia’s women’s rugby team, nicknamed the Wallaroos, including at the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup.
Williams boasts 19 Wallaroos caps with Parry having secured 12.
"I’m really proud to be re-committing to this team and to Rugby Australia," Williams said.
"Without doubt, this year has thrown up challenges for athletes both mentally and physically and for us as a group, it is about overcoming them and working hard to achieve our goal of Olympic gold again.
"This is an amazing group that is well coached by John, and we have worked hard together to continue to prepare for what lies ahead.
"I’m excited for the next few months and to be committing to playing with this amazing group of women."
"To be committing to Rugby Australia for the next 12 months is really exciting," Parry said.
"We still have a job to do and I have been really impressed with how this squad has maintained such high motivation as we continue to hit the training paddock.
"I feel very humbled to be part of this amazing team and I am looking forward to continuing our journey as we move towards Tokyo next year."
Australia are already assured of their place in the women’s rugby sevens competition at Tokyo 2020.
The defending champions are due tol face the challenge of hosts Japan, Brazil, Britain, Canada, China, Fiji, Kenya, New Zealand and the United States.
Two more teams are due to secure qualification to complete the 12-team field in the coming months.
Australia’s women’s sevens team is currently completing a camp in the New South Wales Central West before a period of leave.