The Australian Rugby Union today announced the launch of four Rugby Sevens national competitions split over two weekends in Sydney in February and March 2015.
The Youth Boys and Girls (Under 18s) National Sevens Championships will take place over three days between Friday, 27 February and Sunday, 1 March 2015.
The Men's and Women's National Sevens Championships will take place a week later between Friday, 6 March and Sunday, 8 March.
Taking place at Australian Rugby Sevens HQ at the Sydney Academy of Sport in Narrabeen, Sydney, the National Rugby Sevens Championships are a national residential competition for players from State, Territory and affiliate representative teams.
Boasting IRB Women's Sevens Player of the Year Emilee Cherry in its ranks, Queensland won the 2014 National Women's Sevens Championship at the AIS in Canberra in March. New South Wales, meanwhile, is the current Youth Girls title holders.
It will be the first time the ARU has hosted a national Men's and Youth Boys competition.
Geraint John, ARU Director of Rugby Sevens, said: "I am delighted to announce the launch of these four competitions for 2015 at our excellent centralised facilities at the Sydney Academy of Sport in Narrabeen.
“The championships will give players a platform to showcase their skills alongside some of the best players Rugby Sevens has to offer in this country, and will give players an indication of the demands placed on players competing in IRB-affiliated tournaments.
"This competition will be a crucial pathway in Australian Rugby identifying Rugby Sevens talent, including players, coaches, referees and managers.
“With Rugby Sevens’ debut at the Olympics on the horizon, it is an incredibly exciting time for the sport and we want to give Australia the best chance of qualifying for the Games and winning a gold medal. The 2015 National Championships are another important step to putting the right building blocks in place to achieve these goals.”
The Australian Rugby Union has offered invitations to State and representative teams across Australia. These include: New South Wales, Queensland, Australian Capital Territory, Victoria, Western Australia, Northern Territory, South Australia, Tasmania, Australian Services, National Indigenous and Australian University.
All of the Australian Rugby Sevens staff, including Director of Rugby Sevens Geraint John, will be in attendance at all four competitions.
Rugby Sevens is a major factor in the increase in participation numbers in Australia. Figures from the Australian Rugby Annual Participation Census show participation in Rugby Sevens grew more than 40% in the past year, equating to an additional 15,864 participants taking part in the faster and lower contact version of Rugby in 2013 compared to 2012.