Faster, stronger and bigger: 2018 Aon University Sevens Series kicks off this weekend
SYDNEY, 22 August 2018 – The 2018 Aon University Sevens Series kicks off this weekend with ten Universities to descend on Hobart for round one of the five-round series.
Launching the competition in Sydney today was representatives from the ten Universities: University of Queensland, Bond University, Griffith University, University of New England, Macquarie University, University of Canberra, Adelaide University and tournament newcomers the University of Melbourne and the University of Sydney.
The Aon University Sevens Series catapulted its way on to the Australian sporting landscape in 2017 to accommodate the drive of young women and girls flocking to Rugby Sevens as their chosen sport and provided not only a pathway to elite success, but a genuine national competition.
Modelled off the HSBC Sevens World Series, teams battle it out each round for positional points to ensure the highest possible overall standing, conditioning players to the rigours of the sevens circuit.
The University of Queensland will be out to defend their title after impressively going through 2017 undefeated. The chasing pack will be looking to rein in the title holders after a year of preparation and pre-season tournaments.
Newcomers the University of Melbourne and the University of Sydney need no introduction, being Australia’s largest Universities with extensive sporting programs.
Rugby Australia Chief Executive, Raelene Castle said: “The Aon University Sevens Series was the first of its kind in Australian sport as a University-based national competition when it was launched in 2017 and its success in year one has paved the way for an expanded competition in 2018, with plans for further expansion in 2019.
“The tournament has already unearthed three new squad members for our World Champion Qantas Australian Women’s Sevens team and is also attracting talented athletes from across the globe who are looking to test themselves in a genuine national Rugby Sevens competition.
“Not only does the series provide a crucial pathway for talented young players hoping to pursue an Olympic dream with our women’s Sevens team, each tournament is played in a festival atmosphere at the Universities which offers a great experience for fans.”
Qantas Australian Women’s Sevens Head Coach, John Manenti said: “The Aon University Sevens Series was a fantastic competition in 2017 and I know it is going to be bigger and better this season.
“Players want to be playing in this competition and testing themselves against the best Sevens athletes across the country.
“We have seen Page McGregor, Yasmin Meakes and Lauren Brown come from this series a season ago and become regular members of the Australian squad and I know there will be a lot of players putting their hands up to join those three players ahead of the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020.”
Chief Executive Officer, Aon (Australia), James Baum said: “We’re incredibly proud of our support for the Aon Uni7s. It’s a real honour to contribute to building pathways and a high-performance culture for women’s Rugby in Australia.
“We’ve already seen some incredible outcomes as a result of the 2017 series and we continue to be inspired by the girls coming through to national selection as a result of their performances and the opportunities that have been created.
This competition is most definitely attracting the right attention from the sporting public and selectors and we are very honoured to be helping to bring the next generation of rising stars to the fore.”
UniSport Australia CEO Don Knapp said: “This collaborative initiative provides 10 Australian Universities and their student-athletes with a ground-breaking pathway to the Olympic and Commonwealth Games podia, while at the same time preparing these talented women for a career beyond sport through a balanced approach to sport and tertiary education.
“Research shows student-athletes who balance sport and university studies tend to be better retained in the system, achieve better academic results, and generally have enhanced employability prospects upon graduation.”
The 2018 series kicks off this Saturday at the University of Tasmania in Hobart with every match to be streamed LIVE on RUGBY.com.au.
2018 Aon University Sevens Series
August 25-26, University of Tasmania, Hobart
September 8-9, University of Canberra, Canberra
September 22-23, University of Queensland, Brisbane
October 6-7, Bond University, Gold Coast
October 20-21, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide
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