THE Macquarie Uni Sydney Rays will host one of the four tournaments being staged in the inaugural season of the AON Uni 7s series for women.
The only Sydney based tournament in the series will be staged at the Macquarie Uni sports fields on September 9 and 10 with the Rays men’s team will play their National Rugby Championship game against the Western Sydney Rams at the same venue after the final on the second day of the extravaganza.
The Rays announced their coach for the team late last month and the widely experienced Nathan McMahon will steer the ship through this exciting new series.
The Macquarie Uni based tournament will be the second in the series and will be staged on Saturday September 9 and Sunday September 10.
The entire Australian Women’s Sevens squad which features gold medal stars such as Charlotte Caslick, Shannon Parry, Sharni Williams, Emilee Cherry, Alicia Quirk, Chloe Dalton and Evania Pelite will play in the Aon Uni 7s Series, with every university team to be allocated at least two members of the current Australian squad.
It’s the first domestic Australian Sevens competition for women, offering the nation’s best up-and-coming talent the opportunity to train and play in a high-performance environment to stake their claims for national selection.
The teams will each comprise a mix of students and non-students (with 50percent students being the squad minimum and no on-field quota to be employed).
Australian Women’s Sevens Head Coach Tim Walsh will be watching every tournament as he ramps up his search to find the next generation of Olympians.
With five states and territories represented in the competition, he says the national scope of the Series should prompt female athletes from a range of sports to consider whether they could be Australia’s next Rugby Sevens star.
“Our Rio team was made up of plenty of amazing women who used to play other sports,” he said. “If you can run fast, catch and have plenty of determination, you have the foundation to be a Rugby Sevens champion. We hope to discover plenty of new talent this year, whether they come from a rugby background or not.”
“Flying around the country to compete with and against gold medallists is an opportunity that not many athletes ever get, so I’m looking forward to see which teams and which players step up to challenge and make the most of their chance on the national stage.”
The Series kicks off at Tasmania, where the host team, led by former Wallaby Luke Burgess, will be out to prove that the island state can stand up against the heartland rugby regions.
The eight competing universities will be the University of Canberra (ACT), University of Adelaide (SA), University of Tasmania (TAS) University of New England (NSW), Macquarie University (NSW), Bond University (QLD), University of Queensland (QLD) and Griffith University (QLD).
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