HOBART will play host to some of the world’s most elite rugby players this month as the 2018 Aon Women’s Uni 7s Series kicks off.
Following a strong finish in last year’s inaugural season, the University of Tasmania Lions will return for the 2018 series.
Local players will join top international players Eilidh Sinclair from Scotland and Sydnee Watanabe and Kiki Morgan from the United States to make up the Lions team for the five-round competition.
The team will be joined by Australian women’s sevens representative Emma Sykes for the opening round in Hobart on 25 August.
University of Tasmania students selected for this year’s team are Caitlin Ryan, Alice Robinson, Lauryn Cooper, Michaelyne Arumbi, Georgia Stewart, Wynonah Conway, Verity Reid, Georgia Sayers and Isabella Hardy.
The success of last year’s series has led to the expansion of the 2018 season with 10 universities competing in five tournaments across Australia in August and October.
The 2018 tournament will begin in Hobart on Saturday 25 August at the University’s Sandy Bay Campus oval.
University of Tasmania Lions coach and former Wallaby Luke Burgess said he was excited about this year’s competition following the success in the 2017 season.
“The team put in a really solid effort last year which provided an invaluable experience for local aspiring players to take to the field among some of the world’s best rugby players,” he said.
“All of the players have been working really hard in our pre-season training and are extremely focused and excited heading into this year’s series.”
Women’s Rugby 7s is one of the world’s fastest growing team sports with the Aon series being launched last year after Australia’s women’s success at the Rio Olympics in 2016.
The Aon tournament provides a pathway for up-and-coming talent to train and play alongside some of the world’ best in a bid to gain selection in the Australian 7s women’s squad.
“Two of last year’s team members have returned this year, Michaelyne Arumbi and Kiki Morgan, furthering their playing careers,” Mr Burgess said.
Ms Arumbi was selected to trial for the Papua New Guinea team, and Ms Morgan was selected in the United States development team.
With the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games not too far away, the Aon series allows the next generation of up-and-coming rugby players a shot at representing Australia.
Caption: University of Tasmania’s Women’s Rugby 7s team with coach Luke Burgess.