It's a tough slog breaking into the Pearls, but the rewards are big.

Ruby sevens suffers from a relative lack of funding compared to its higher-profile league and union bretheren, but it does now have Olympic certification.

Which puts the pressure on Manenti to help discover the next big Aussie rugby star early and prevent them from defecting to another version of the sport.

"She's been with us for just over 12 months and training and knocking on the door for a long time and we've seen since we returned this pre-season all the hard work she's put in has really started to benefit her," Manenti told

"She had a fantastic Aon series (in round one last month) and just keeps turning up and is one of those selections that knocked the door down and said: 'pick me'.

"It's always exciting to get someone to debut and a young girl who's come through our pathways is very exciting."

For her part, Ashby is keen as mud.

"I'm so keen. I can't wait to get on the field and play with the girls," she said.

"It feels pretty great. I've been working a long time for this through pre-season and the past year going through development and getting my skills up for the potential to play in the team and luckily enough Johnny (Manenti) picked me to play in Colorado."