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Tassie rugby girls lead the charge

TASMANIA’S first-ever Youth Girls Rugby Sevens team travelled to Wagga Wagga in Victoria recently to battle it out against teams from across the nation in the Australian Rugby Sevens Development Tournament.

A fast, exciting and condensed version of Rugby Union, Rugby Sevens is played in a round robin style over two days, with each team consisting of seven players who play for 14-minutes on a standard size rugby pitch.

Introduced to the game through a Tasmanian Rugby Union schools program, the under-17 team members, who hail from Rose Bay High, Elizabeth College, Guilford Young College and Cosgrove High, underwent an intensive training program under the guidance of coach Christo Le Grange.

“While other states have much more developed programs, there is some serious talent in our squad,” Mr Le Grange said.

“In terms of the future, the girls can push for inclusion in the Australian Development Squad, the junior Commonwealth Games or secure a scholarship for a college or university on the mainland.”

Following two days of stiff competition, the tournament saw the girls come away without a win.

Mr Le Grange said this was the first time the girls had played a competitive game and that they had “held their own.”

“The team did extremely well in testing conditions against experienced players who train in academies four to five times a week,” he said.

“In Rugby Sevens, the scores are not as bad as they seem and we went there for the experience and to set the foundation for future competitions.

“I am very proud of the girls and I think they represented the state with unrelenting spirit.”

Mr Le Grange said the tournament provided a solid foundation for future competitions in 2016.

“I felt that the line out worked well, our scrum was effective against both New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, but we struggled to react quickly to opportunities as they arose, which is key to the game,” he said.

“We are trying to establish a girls’ sevens competition locally, which will automatically help develop all the areas that need improvement.

“From here, we will build on the skills and game management side of things with the aim of getting our first win on the board in the National Rugby Sevens Championship next November.”

For more information about women’s rugby sevens, visit facebook.com/TasRugby or contact Christo Le Grange on 0448 985 715 or email cle@utas.edu.au.

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