Former coach Tim Walsh backs Emilee Cherry to shine as a mum
Emilee Cherry's former coach has backed the Australian Sevens standout to flourish once she returns from the birth of her first child later this year.
The Olympic gold medallist is expecting a baby in June but has tentatively set her sights on another medal in Japan roughly a year later.
Cherry was crowned world player of the year in 2014 and scored two clutch tries in last year's season finale in Paris to ensure Australia won the world title.
The 26-year-old has no shortage of inspiration following the successful comebacks of new mothers Laura Geitz, Serena Williams and former teammate Nicole Beck in recent years.
And former coach Tim Walsh, who oversaw the 2016 Olympic charge before joining the men's program last year, is confident she'll be joining them.
"I'm absolutely stoked for Em and (fiance) Dan (Barton)," he said.
"She'll be an amazing mother and is the kind of person who'll achieve what she wants.
"Everyone's got their opinion, but for me Emilee Cherry was always the first player on our team list."
Contracted until 2020, Cherry will transition from the field to the office once she stops training under Rugby Australia's pregnancy policy.
The organisation will also pay for her mother to travel with the Australian team to care for the baby, while Cherry would be offered a three-month train and trial opportunity if her contract expired during the pregnancy.
"It's fantastic for RA, to pioneer and lead the way for women's contact sports," Walsh said.
"Hopefully it allows her to come back and play again for Australia."
The defending world champions sit fourth after two rounds ahead of next weekend's Sydney leg, which they won last year without conceding a point.