Trans-Tasman 7s series & other WSWS news

Australia’s Aon University Sevens gets its first big test later this week when the leading graduates from the series get a chance to test themselves in a five-game series against World Series champions New Zealand.

Published by John Birch, October 14th, 2017

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Trans-Tasman 7s series & other WSWS news

Coach Tim Walsh and the Australian selectors have chosen Mackenzie Sadler (University of Queensland), Page McGregor (Macquarie University), Katie Harrison (Macquarie University), Yasmin Meakes (University of Canberra), Olivia White (University of Tasmania) and Lauren Brown (Griffith University) to join the main Australia squad for the five games, which will be played between Thursday and Saturday at Epsom Huntley Reserve, Bendigo.

The series, between the top two teams from last year’s series, will be an important step in their preparations for the opening round, in Dubai starting 30thNovember.

The six selected new players play across various positions and were stars during the inaugural Aon University Sevens, so their selection and performances will be an important test of the effectiveness of series – currently unique to Australia - as a talent spotting and preparation programme. The gap between Australia and New Zealand seemed to grow significantly last year, with New Zealand winning every encounter between the world’s top two teams. If the AON Series can close that gap it will be interesting to see if other countries might adopt similar series.

Australian Coach, Tim Walsh, said: “We’re really looking forward to taking Rugby Sevens to Bendigo and it’s going to be a fantastic opportunity to showcase Rugby Sevens in regional Victoria.

“New Zealand were the Champions for the 2016-2017 season and set the bench mark last year. This Series provides with an excellent opportunity to test ourselves as we continue our preparation for the HSBC Sevens World Series.

“The players who have been selected from the Aon University Sevens Series to join our squad have all shown real promise this year. Taking the next step to an International Series is going to test them on a whole new level and I look forward to seeing how they respond to that.”

The squad arrives in Bendigo on Tuesday October 17 and will participate in community engagement activities in between fixtures.


Thursday October 19

Australia vs New Zealand, 6.30pm AEDT

Friday October 20

Australia vs New Zealand, 3.30pm AEDT

Australia vs New Zealand, 6.30pm AEDT

Saturday October 21

Australia vs New Zealand, 3.30pm AEDT

Australia vs New Zealand, 6.30pm AEDT

Australian Squad:  Alicia Quirk (University of New England);  Charlotte Caslick (Bond University);  Mahalia Murphy (University of Adelaide);  Evania Pelite (University of Adelaide); Sharni Williams (University of Canberra);  Emilee Cherry (University of Queensland);  Cassie Staples (University of Canberra);  Dom Du Toit (Macquarie University);  Nicole Beck (University of Tasmania);  Emma Sykes (University of Queensland);  Hannah Southwell (University of New England);  Brooke Walker (Bond University);  Shanice Parker (University of Tasmania);  Mackenzie Sadler (University of Queensland);  Page McGregor (Macquarie University);  Katie Harrison (Macquarie University); Yasmin Meakes (University of Canberra);  Olivia White (University of Tasmania); Lauren Brown (Griffith University)

Other World Series news

Canada, Australia and New Zealand’s biggest rivals in recent years, have also announced their 2017/18 squad, including three new faces from their Commonwealth Games silver medal team - Olivia de Couvreur, Tausani Levale and Carmen Izyk. Interestingly, coach John Tait is already saying that the inaugural Commonwealth Games sevens will be relegated to a secondary consideration behind the World Series in their bid to challenge the top two for the Series title. This is very different toEngland's Simon Amor, who has said he targeting all three major tournaments this year.

Canadian squad: Olivia Apps, Maggie Banks, Brittany Benn, Pamphinette Buisa, Emma Chown, Caroline Crossley, Hannah Darling, Olivia de Couvreur, Bianca Farella, Maddy Grant, Julia Greenshields, Carmen Izyk, Sara Kaljuvee, Jen Kish, Ghislaine Landry (captain), Nakisa Levale, Tausani Levale, Kaili Lukan, Megan Lukan, Kayla Moleschi, Breanne Nicholas, Arielle Normandin-Leclerc, Keyara Wardley, Natasha Watcham-Roy, Charity Williams.

England squad(announced in September):Abbie Brown, Alex Matthews, Amy Wilson Hardy, Claire Allan, Chantelle Miell, Deborah Fleming, Emily Scarratt, Emily Scott, Heather Fisher, Holly Aitchison, Katie Mason, Lydia Thompson, Megan Jones, Millie Wood, Natasha Hunt, Sarah McKenna, Vicky Fleetwood.

Five roundsof the serieswill make up this year's series: Dubai 30 November - 1 December 2017;  Sydney 26-28 January 2018; Kitakyushu 21-22 April 2018; Langford 12-13 May 2018; Paris 8-10 June 2018

The drawfor the opening round of the World Seriesin Dubai was also announced last week. There were no surprises with the seedings based on last year’s series outcome:

Pool A: New Zealand, United States, France, South Africa

Pool B: Australia, Russia, England, Japan

Pool C: Canada, Fiji, Ireland, Spain