The University of Tasmania has secured three of the world’s best rugby players for its local squad ahead of the inaugural Aon National University Sevens Series competition, kicking off in Tasmania later this year.
Olympic gold medallist Ellia Green, along with nationals Georgie Friedrichs and Shanice Parker will bolster the University of Tasmania side as it takes on seven other higher education institutions in the first-of-its kind competition.
Professor Mike Calford, Provost of the University said the institution was excited to welcome the elite athletes to its women’s sevens line-up.
“To have these high-calibre players representing our University and state will be significant through the mentorship they provide to our athletes, and by raising the profile of University of Tasmania stadium which will host the very first tournament of the series and hopefully many more inaugural games of national and international significance,” Professor Calford said.
University of Tasmania Sport Development Officer Melissa Jelliff said the announcement would also help increase pathways for local players towards the national league.
“To have our local talent playing alongside and against some of the world’s best athletes is a significant opportunity which will help shape their career development and the evolution of this sport in Tasmania going forward,” Ms Jelliff said.
The University of Tasmania side will be coached by former Wallabies player and Development Manager of the Tasmanian Rugby Union Luke Burgess. University of Tasmania student and rugby representative James Erwin has been announced as Assistant Coach.
Mr Burgess encouraged all locals to get behind the competition ahead of the first tournament taking place in Launceston during August.
“It is absolutely incredible to be welcoming these elite athletes to our shores who will be front and centre in the community,” Mr Burgess said.
“To have high-profile player Ellia Green, considered the fastest woman in rugby, joining the University of Tasmania ranks is a huge development. Georgie Friedrichs is a strong ball-player while Shanice Parker is a proven power runner so overall we have a great mix of world-class athletes representing our local squad.
“This will be a state-wide university team comprising of players from across the state. Ultimately I want Tasmania to become a women’s sevens hub that puts forward a strong competitive line-up of athletes who can represent Australia at the international level and this inaugural competition is the first step towards that.
The unveiling of the Australian Women’s Sevens squad allocations comes ahead of two Talent Identification days being held in the North and South of the state this month.
Taking place at Royal Park in Launceston (Saturday, 20 May 10am – 12pm) and the University’s Rugby Oval in Sandy Bay (Saturday, 27 May 9.30am – 11.30am), aspiring athletes are invited to turn up and try-out for selection in the University of Tasmania line-up.
“We’re encouraging women from across the North, North-West and South of Tasmania to get along to one of these days and try-out. They don’t need any experience, we just invite them to turn up in their active wear,” Ms Jelliff said.
Other players will be recruited from established rugby teams around the state based on their performance in the Autumn Sevens Series which is currently underway.
A gala day between the North and South sides will be held at Royal Park following the Launceston Talent Identification session allowing teams to test their endurance ahead of the final day of the Autumn Sevens competition taking place immediately after the Southern Talent Identification day on Saturday, 27 May.
The University of Tasmania team will be officially announced in the coming weeks.
2017 Women’s Aon Uni 7s Series Player Allocations:
University of New England, NSW - Alicia Quirk and Hannah Southwell
Macquarie University, NSW - Dominique Du Toit and Chloe Dalton
University of Tasmania, TAS - Ellia Green, Georgie Friedrichs and Shanice Parker
University of Adelaide, SA - Emma Tonegato, Evania Pelite and Mahalia Murphy
University of Canberra, ACT - Sharni Williams and Brooke Anderson
Griffith University, QLD - Shannon Parry and Demi Hayes
Bond University, QLD - Charlotte Caslick and Brooke Walker
University of Queensland, QLD - Emilee Cherry and Emma Sykes
2017 Women’s Aon Uni 7s Series Fixtures
Round 1 - University of Tasmania Stadium, Launceston, 25-26 August
Round 2 - Macquarie University fields, Sydney, 9-10 September
Round 3 - University of Queensland fields, Brisbane, 16-17 September
Round 4 - Bond University fields, Gold Coast, 29-30 September
Image: James Erwin (Assistant Coach), Ellia Green (Olympic gold medallist), Luke Burgess (Coach). Photo credit: Australian Rugby Union Media / Stu Walmsley
Published on: 12 May 2017 5:52pm