National Sevens: Players to watch

by Marty Cambridge

The National Sevens Championships kick-off in Adelaide this weekend, in what will be a showcase of the next generation of Australian stars.  We take a look at the ones to watch.

Mahalia Murphy - National Indigenous

Murphy has been in the Aussie Sevens program for well over year but is yet to catapult herself as a regular in the starting squad. Having performed admirably at the Oceania Sevens tournament, scoring plenty of tries, Mahalia comes into the Nationals with good form at her back. Typically abrasive with the ball in hand, when Mahalia builds up some speed she is near impossible to bring to the ground.

Murphy isn't afraid to put her body on the line. Photo: Getty Images

Shanice Parker - Western Australia

This young gun is one of the new faces of the Aussie Sevens Women’s team having made her debut last weekend for Australia at the Oceania tournament in Fiji. Although still growing into her body, Parker packs a punch in contact, throwing herself into defence without fear.

Her speed is one of her greatest assets and having just signed a full-time contract with the gold medal winning Australian Sevens team, Shanice will be looking to prove herself against her peers. 

Dom Du Toit - Queensland

Needing no introduction, Dom Du Toit is already starting to establish herself in the Aussie Sevens and has potentially a big future in the program. Hailing from Queensland, Dom cut her teeth in Sevens at the Nationals and the Queensland side will have a point to prove at this year’s Nationals with plenty of star power in their team. Dom is difficult to catch with her evasive stepping and speed and will cause headaches for defences all weekend. 

Dom du Toit will be in action in Adelaide. Photo: Getty Images

Junior Laloifi – Queensland

Having already played for the Australian Men’s Sevens side and the Queensland Reds in Super Rugby, Laloifi is one of the most decorated players in this year’s Championships.  The 22-year-old has been described as having some of the fastest feet in Queensland Rugby and scored the winning try for Brisbane City in the grand final of season one of the NRC.  There’s little doubt about his talent and the speedster will be hoping to make an impact this weekend and force his way back into the national set up.  

Jack McCalman – Australian Universities 

The former Australian Schoolboys skipper and member of the Australian Under-20s squad has been a part of Australian Rugby pathway for a number of years.  Like his cousin, Wallaby, Ben McCalman, Jack always puts his body on the line and has the right build for Sevens with quick pace and plenty of gas in the legs.  With a good rugby brain, he will play an important role if Australian Universities are to go deep into the tournament.

Bennett Leslie – New South Wales

Part of the Australian Men’s side who came third in the Oceania Sevens in Fiji just last week, Leslie will look to help NSW make it back-to-back national titles.  Leslie is big-bodied, full of pace and will be hard to stop, especially if given time and space to build up speed. 

Rugby.com.au will be live streaming all of the action from the national sevens competition, kicking off this weekend.

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