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The University of Queensland has named a squad of 24 players to defend its Aon Uni 7s Series title.

From left: Marioulla Belessis, Mackenzie Sadler and Jannicke lJdens

The second instalment of the Uni 7s Series, which starts in August, has expanded to five rounds and 10 teams, with The University of Sydney and The University of Melbourne joining the competition.

Team UQ’s squad features six UQ students, including UQ Sports Achievement Scholarship recipients Marioulla Belessis and Meg Gemmell.

Fifteen new players have joined the team, which also includes Holland internationals Jannicke lJdens, Bodil van Wijnbergen and Plevni Kievit.

Bachelor of Education (Primary) student Marioulla Belessis said the team expects fierce competition as it defends its Uni 7s title.

“The UQ girls last year did a really good job.

“They won every tournament and obviously that is our main goal again to try and back that up,” Belessis said.

“A couple of new teams have come into the competition this year and I think that’s really good.

“They will definitely provide a big challenge for us as will all the other teams that are coming back.”

An additional eight-player development squad, featuring three UQ students, will train alongside the main squad and compete at selected domestic 7s tournaments.

Coaching, training and player development will be overseen by the UQ Rugby Football Club and UQ Sport Academy.

Team UQ coach Reg Tayler said it was crucial to build playing depth amongst the squad.

“We’re getting a lot of students engage with the program and come and trial with the team, and they might not feature this year, but definitely it’s a two-year project,” Tayler said.

“We want this program to be successful for a long time, and we’ve got to think about that every year.

“At the same time we are focusing on this 2018 season and making sure that we can put our best foot forward and hopefully repeat what we did last year.”

UQ will again host Round 3 of the competition at the UQ Sport Athletics Centre from 22-23 September.

Every match of the Aon Uni 7s Series will be broadcast live via rugby.com.au.

2018 Aon Uni 7s Series – Team UQ Squad

  • Annie Arnott (Master of Environmental Management)
  • Marioulla Belessis (Bachelor of Education – Primary)
  • Taylor Burke
  • Arnika Cave
  • Shenae Ciesiolka
  • Phoebe Cuskelly (Bachelor of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences)
  • Terri-Anne Egan
  • Erica Fowler (Bachelor of Exercise and Sport Sciences – Honours)
  • Tash Flynn
  • Meg Gemmell (Bachelor of Engineering – Honours)
  • Georgia Hannaway
  • Sam Hopkin
  • Grace Kaihau
  • Plevni Kievit
  • Jannicke lJdens
  • Lucy Lockhart
  • Haj Mosby
  • Kate Muscat (Bachelor of Physiotherapy – Honours)
  • Kobe Nona
  • Mackenzie Sadler
  • Morgan Te Oka
  • Bodil Van Wijnbergen
  • Sarafina Vosuqa
  • Rachel Walsh

Development Squad

  • Lisa Burgess
  • Paige Edwards
  • Melita Hicks
  • Gemma Huck
  • Hannah Jakins (Bachelor of Agribusiness)
  • Tess Littleton (Bachelor of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences)
  • Miranda Scroope (Bachelor of Arts)
  • Grace Studwick

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

Media: Jamie Mitchell, UQ Sport, JamieM@uqsport.com.au0423 785 752; Reg Tayler, UQ Rugby Football Club, regtayler@uqrugbyclub.com, 0407 302 911.