National Sevens Championships all set for lift off in Sydney

by Staff Writer

After the success of the Youth event last weekend, all eyes turn to the Men's and Women's National Sevens Championships this Saturday and Sunday at the Sydney Academy of Sport in Narrabeen (7-8 March 2015).

For the Men this will be the inaugural National Sevens Championship, while this will be the fourth edition of the Women's National Championship. Led by Australian international Shannon Parry, Queensland Red won the title in 2014 in Canberra.

Qantas Australian Men's Sevens Head Coach Geraint John has released seven contracted players for the tournament in order for them to gain match fitness ahead of his selection for the sixth round of the HSBC Sevens World Series in Hong Kong later this month.

Michael Wells, Alex Gibbon and Paul Asquith will play for New South Wales Blue, while Peter Schuster will turn out for New South Wales White. Brad Wilkin and Tom Lucas will don the colours of Queensland Red. Meanwhile, arguably the headline act of the day will see lightning quick winger Shannon Walker play for the National Indigenous outfit.

Geraint John said he will be using the event to identify future talent: "I am looking out for players who show a great enthusiasm for the game, with a great attitude and character on and off the field plus very good skills.

“The basic skills I look for in players are catching and passing with good technique, players who can re-start (kicking ability with height and accuracy), players who can tackle, players who have aerial skills and players who enjoy the contact area. Other attributes I will be looking for are their conditioning - can they keep going? Do they have repeat speed? And then players with the ‘X Factor’ - outright speed, players who can beat people and score tries!"

“I also want to know if players want have the drive and commitment that it takes to become an international player and Olympian - this means training every day and making sacrifices - living the life of a High Performance Athlete.”

In the Women's National Sevens Championships, Australian forward Mollie Gray will play for the Australian Services team, with nationally contracted players Nikki Etheridge and Dom Du Toit playing for Queensland Red.

Qantas Australian Women’s Sevens Head Coach Tim Walsh: "We are looking for players with the qualities to compete at an Olympic and Commonwealth Games - an athlete encompassing elite potential in the core competencies of Rugby Sevens and a point of difference in one or more of speed, agility, ball skills, power and fitness. The national Women’s Sevens program is on the lookout for players with a ruthless competitive instinct who just love playing Rugby Sevens."

Both the Men's and Women's events will feature 12 teams from across the country.

All of the action from the Sydney Academy of Sport kicks off at 9am AEDT on Saturday and for information on match times, please click here.

Championship Draw:

Men

Pool A: Queensland Red, National Indigenous, New South Wales White, Tasmania

Pool B: New South Wales Blue, Western Australia, Queensland White, Northern Territory

Pool C: ACT, Victoria, South Australia, Australian University

Women

Pool A: Queensland Red, South Australia, New South Wales White, Australian University

Pool B: New South Wales Blue, National Indigenous, Queensland White, Northern Territory

Pool C: ACT, Western Australia, Australian Services, Victoria

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