Levi sisters lead Aussie charge towards Paris Olympics

Maddison and Teagan Levi are locked into the Australian rugby sevens program long-term with the star sisters set to be part of the Paris Olympic charge.

James Maddison.
James Maddison. Picture: AAP Image

After turning their back on promising AFLW careers, sisters Maddison and Teagan Levi are set to anchor the Australian women's sevens team through to the Paris Olympics and beyond.

The Gold Coast pair have signed new deals which will see them play in the Australian sevens program until at least the 2025-26 season.

Maddison, 21, was part of Australia's team at the Tokyo Olympics and may be joined in Paris by her 20-year-old sibling, with coach Tim Walsh announcing the 2023-24 world series squad squad on Wednesday.

The athletic duo could have played AFLW after being drafted by the Gold Coast Suns, but chose to pursue rugby sevens.

Charlotte Caslick is set to skipper the team at her third Olympics, while Sharni Smale (nee Williams), who was a captain at the Tokyo Olympics, is also targeting a third Games.

The pair were both part of the Australia's triumphant women's team at the Rio Olympics in 2016 with the side finishing fifth at the last Games.

There are three new faces in the 17-player squad with talented youngsters Kaitlin Shave, Sidney Taylor and Heidi Dennis joining for the first time.

Walsh has high hopes the side can reclaim their form from 2022 when they won every major trophy on offer - Commonwealth Games gold in Birmingham, the world series title and the Rugby World Cup sevens.

After making her debut as a bolter at the 2021 Olympics, Maddison Levi won the world rugby sevens rookie of the year and was named in the world rugby dream team in her first season.

Last season the speedster set a record of 57 tries in a world rugby sevens season, was again named in the Dream Team and was one of three finalists for world player of the year.

Known for her combative defence, Teagan made her debut a few months after the Olympics and has continued to improve.

"Maddison and Teagan are genuine competitive culture drivers in our squad, which is quite remarkable when you consider how inexperienced they are," Walsh said in a statement.

"They have quickly gone from rookies to elite players on the world circuit. Maddi has become one of the best players in the world and someone that all oppositions fear.

"Teagan's improvement over the last 12 months is a testament to her toughness, resilience, and desire to be better and we are thrilled to keep such outstanding players - and people - in the program."

The Australia women begin their SVNS series campaign on December 2-3 in Dubai with round three played in Perth from January 26-28.

Australian women's sevens squad: Lily Dick, Sharni Smale, Faith Nathan, Dominique Du Toit, Teagan Levi, Madison Ashby, Charlotte Caslick (c), Kaitlin Shave, Tia Hinds, Bella Nasser, Demi Hayes, Maddison Levi, Heidi Dennis, Bienne Terita, Sidney Taylor, Alysia Lefau-Fakaosilea, Sariah Paki.