ARU launches Women's Sevens championship
More than 160 players across 14 teams will descend upon St. Ignatius College, Riverview, for the Australian Rugby Union’s inaugural National Women’s Rugby Sevens Championship.
This weekend's two day tournament, which runs from Saturday 14 to Sunday 15 April, will also be attended by national selectors.
The ground breaking tournament is a first for Australian Rugby with state teams from across the country and one international team gathering in Sydney to contest the title of Australia’s best women’s Rugby Sevens side.
It will also act as a selection tool for representative duties for the Aussie Pearls and Qantas Women’s Sevens, the latter of which finished runners-up to England at the second IRB Women's Sevens Challenge Cup in Hong Kong.
The tournament will feature three New South Wales teams, two Queensland and Australian Capital Territory teams and one team from Northern Territory, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia.
It will also include the first-ever National Indigenous Women’s Sevens team, Australian Services Rugby Union side and international competitors Papua New Guinea.
ARU Program Manager of Sevens and Women’s Rugby, Dale Roberson, said the tournament was a positive step forward in the pursuit of developing women’s Rugby sevens in Australia.
"This is a very exciting time for women’s Rugby,” Roberson said.
“This tournament is an enormous step forward in providing a pathway for our women Rugby players.
“The National Women’s Rugby Sevens Championship provides players from across the country with a competition to strive for, while also providing a clear route from grassroots, to state, to national representation.”
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While State teams were chosen through tournament participation, trial days and selection camps, players competing at the national tournament now have the opportunity to be invited to train with the Qantas Women’s Sevens squad.
The tournament will also feature several players who have already broken through to the Qantas Women’s Sevens, with national captain Rebecca Tavo competing for Queensland, Debby Hodgkinson for Western Australia and Bo De La Cruz for Northern Territory.
Qantas Women’s Sevens coach Chris Lane will also be on hand to size up the next crop of talent, while Qantas Wallabies coach Robbie Deans will also be in attendance on the final day.
In addition to the 168 female Rugby players, five of the six tournament referees will be women. For more information on the National Women’s Rugby Sevens Championship, click here.