How many girls are there in the squad this year?
For this year’s Sevens we are returning to eight girls in the squad. We had 12 for the World Cup in March this year, and it was incredible having such a big number. So the eight girls chosen this year will be under pressure to step up. But I have six gymnasts in the group, so we’re going to be full of energy out there on the field!
Did thousands turn out for the auditions, as they did last year?
The line went all the way down the hall and the auditions went on all day. All girls learn one routine, then we split them up into groups to perform to myself and a panel of other industry professionals. We also ask them to perform acrobatic combinations and this keeps going and going until at last we come down to our final eight. Trust me, it’s not an easy decision.
Have you ever played rugby?
[Laughs] Funnily enough I used to play rugby at school, as well as soccer and AFL (Aussie rules). One might argue that I was a little bit of a tomboy. Then suddenly dancing was my new thing, and that was it for me: I’ve been in the entertainment industry ever since.
Which routine should we look out for?
I’ve gone with a few crowd pleasers this year and some chart toppers, but my personal favourite is a Bon Jovi number. Look out for the flipping girls – this one is going to go off!
Are you friends with the female rugby players?
We have some fans in the female sevens competition and we make an effort to get out on to the other field to do some routines for the female games. Without sounding like we have favourites, go Aussies!
Do you get a lot of injuries? Yes – I have to make sure the girls are really careful with their bodies. They’re doing so much acrobatic work that if they’re not warm they could have some major injuries. One of my girls took a bit of a stumble in rehearsal the other day and I almost had a heart attack, but physio gave her the all clear. Phew!
Do you cheerlead at any other events?
What makes these girls a little different to your average cheerleader is that they are all professional dancers and performers back in Australia, so not only are they amazing cheerleaders, but they are professional gymnasts, theatre professionals and performing artists, too.
Do you think men make good cheerleaders?
[Laughs] No! But we will be looking for our friends in the BP stand this year who are always up for a dance-off with the girls. I will also be looking for my ginger wig friends in the stands – you know who you are.
What are your outfits like this year?
I’m afraid that’s top-secret information! Sorry!
What do you think of Dubai?
Dubai is up there as one of my favourite destinations. I lived in Dubai for a couple of years and had the time of my life, so getting the opportunity to come back and visit every year makes me feel very lucky. I also love being able to be a part of such a fantastic event. I believe it is one of the best sporting events on the global calendar.