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By Hamish Lees
Such has been the growth in popularity of Rugby Sevens since Australia’s women won Gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics, Queensland Rugby Union (QRU) has added another level to the pathway for young girls interested in the sport.
Starting next week, QRU will host the inaugural Girls’ Queensland Rugby Sevens Championships at Logan City Rugby Union Club from September 20 to September 21.
The tournament will feature 144 girls from 12 teams competing in Under 15s and Under 17s age categories, representing Central Queensland, Gold Coast, Darling Downs, Sunshine Coast and Brisbane.
Olympic Gold-medallist Emilee Cherry praised the initiative by QRU, which will provide opportunity for aspirational young players hoping to follow in her footsteps.
“There has been a lot of talk about women’s Rugby Sevens growing and women’s sport in general growing, so it’s good to see those words get put into action,” Cherry said.
“We want to leave the game in a better state and we want to see it flourish in the years to come, so if we can leave a legacy of creating that grassroots level and improve Rugby Sevens across Australia, that will be a huge thing for us.”
Developed in partnership with Logan City Council and Logan City Rugby Union Club, the new tournament addresses the rapid growth of girls’ Rugby in Queensland and across Australia, providing an opportunity for young girls to showcase their talents.
Queensland Rugby Union participation manager Rama Chand is excited to see a new way for girls to join the development pathway.
“This event now fills the gap between regional Sevens competitions and the Queensland Academy of Sport program (QAS),” Chand said.
“This tournament allows representative girls to get recognition and offers an opportunity to now see and join the development pathway.
“For those young girls from around the country or regions, that might be wondering how they can get into the QAS program, now there is a tournament for them to showcase their talents.
“It’s not just about players either, we will see female managers, coaches, referees, and players.”
The QRU will also be running a free Rookies2Reds clinic on the Wednesday for girls aged five to 11, allowing younger participants the opportunity to get involved in the festivities.
Queensland Rugby Unions Sevens High Performance Manager Lachlan Parkinson is excited to see players rise up a level of competition.
“The tournament is an exciting opportunity for players to experience elite level competition and showcase their talents at a higher level,” Parkinson said.
Parkinson will be selecting a number of Under 17s players from the tournament for a QAS train-on squad and will be talent identifying top performers from the Under 15s.
Queensland Sevens representative Brianne Rossato said the tournament was a fantastic opportunity for girls to get involved in the sport at an earlier age.
“I grew up in regional Queensland in a little town called Home Hill, I had never heard of Rugby Sevens until I went to university,” Rossato said.
“To see young girls not only in the city but all over the state get an opportunity to play from such a young age is very exciting, to see the quality of Rugby to come in the years after is also exciting”
Two action packed days of girls’ Rugby Sevens awaits Logan next week with the first state champion to be crowned.
2017 Girls Junior State Championships at Logan City Rugby Union, September 20-21. View the event page here
22 NOVEMBER 2017