The University of Queensland will launch its Aon Uni 7s Series title defence this weekend when the second instalment of the national Women’s Rugby 7s competition kicks off at the University of Tasmania in Hobart.
UQ went through the inaugural series in 2017 undefeated, winning all four tournaments, after taking on opponents from seven universities.
This year’s competition has expanded to include ten universities competing across five tournaments, with the addition of teams from The University of Melbourne and The University of Sydney.
Team UQ coach Reg Tayler has selected a strong 13-player squad, including four Uni 7s debutantes, to make the trip south for the opening round.
Tayler said the final decisions were not easy given the calibre of the 24-player squad named last month.
“Having selection headaches is often a good thing.
“We’ve picked a very good 12, we’ve got depth and we’re going to need them,” Tayler said.
“We’re not quite sure what they are going to deliver this year, but we’re expecting nine universities that will really put up some tough competition.
“I think it will be one of the best female codes to watch in terms of skill level and talent.”
The notable difference in this year’s squad list is the absence of Australian representative players, whose inclusion in the inaugural series laid the foundation for the growth and development of the game at this level.
Tayler said the need for marquee players on the field for UQ has passed.
“We’ve planned our squad to have no marquee players.
“We will have Emilee Cherry working with our team at certain points throughout this series,” Tayler said.
“She’s going to help us work with player reviews, team reviews and just use her experience around the group which will be invaluable.”
Leading Team UQ on the field in 2018 will be Holland international Jannicke lJdens, who said the captaincy role is one she feels privileged to have been given.
“I feel really honoured to represent UQ again this year.
“It’s so good when the coach has confidence in you and says you’re going to be the captain of the team,” lJdens said.
“The preparation from our team was so good in the trial games – we played better and better each time – so we are ready for Tasmania this weekend.”
lJdens will be supported by two vice-captains – 2017 UQ skipper Mackenzie Sadler and UQ Sporting Scholarship recipient Marioulla Belessis.
lJdens said competition for spots is fierce among the playing group.
“If you look at UQ, I think that’s one of our secrets – our depth is so big.”
“The level is so high so it doesn’t matter who is on the field.”
UQ will play pool matches against tournament hosts University of Tasmania (9:20am), University of Melbourne (1:20pm) and Macquarie University (3:20pm) on Saturday, and University of Adelaide (9:20am) on Sunday.
Knockout games will take place from 11am on Sunday.
The University of Queensland – Aon Uni7s Series team (Round 1):
- Marioulla Belessis (vc) (Bachelor of Education – Primary)
- Shenae Ciesiolka
- Erica Fowler (Bachelor of Exercise and Sport Sciences – Honours)
- Georgia Hannaway
- Samantha Hopkins
- Jannicke lJdens (c)
- Grace Kaihau
- Pleuni Kievit
- Hagiga (Haj) Mosby
- Mackenzie Sadler (vc)
- Bodil Van Wijnbergen
- Sarafina Vosuqa
- Terri-Anne Egan (13th)
2018 Aon Uni 7s Series – Fixtures
Round 1 – University of Tasmania, Hobart (August 25-26)
Round 2 – University of Canberra, Canberra (September 8-9)
Round 3 – The University of Queensland, UQ Sport Athletics Centre (September 22-23)
Round 4 – Bond University, Gold Coast (October 6-7)
Round 5 – The University of Adelaide, Adelaide (October 20-21)
2018 Aon Uni 7s Series – Teams
The University of Queensland, QLD
Griffith University, QLD
Bond University, QLD
University of New England, NSW
Macquarie University, NSW
The University of Sydney, NSW
The University of Melbourne, VIC
University of Canberra, ACT
The University of Adelaide, SA
University of Tasmania, TAS