A look to the future: National Youth Sevens Championships

by Jill Scanlon

The 2016 National Youth Sevens Championships (Under 18s) are being held this weekend at McGillivray Oval at the University of Western Australia.

New South Wales will be keen to defend its 2015 titles in both the Boys and Girls competitions. However, without a home-ground advantage this year, competitors from Queensland, Western Australia, Northern Territory and the National Indigenous teams will be working hard to prevent that.

What is certain is that all players will be looking to impress the coaches before next year's Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas.

In hosting this tournament, Western Australia is underlining its strong growth and development in rugby – particularly sevens – which has produced such talent as 18 year old Shanice Parker, newly contracted to the Aussie Sevens women’s squad in October.

The national ranks are now littered with former Youth Championship players: eight players, including Parker, who participated in the 2015 tournament, have now progressed through to be rewarded with National representative contracts.

Simon Kennewell, Josh Coward, Tim Anstee, Lachlan Anderson, Hannah Southwell, Demi Hayes and Emma Sykes are all now enjoying the training facilities at Narrabeen. In fact, Kennewell and Anstee are currently part of the Aussie Sevens squad playing in the opening rounds of the World Series in Dubai and Cape Town.

Ten teams will compete in each competition from across the nation with Tasmania the only state not represented.

Queensland and NSW each have two teams entered which reflects the strong traditional base rugby enjoys in those north eastern states, as they did in the National Senior Championships last month.

There is no doubt there will be the watchful eyes of ARU development staff on proceedings, scouting future talent, as Australia looks to continue the strong development in depth which has led to the success of the Women’s team and is the foundation of the rebuilding of the Men’s team.

Emma Sykes is going to make her World Series debut. Photo: ARU MediaARU General Manager of High Performance, Ben Whitaker knows that this competition is where the future of Australia’s sevens success will be discovered.

“We've already seen the kind of talent that can be discovered at these tournaments and I know there will be a few keen eyes on these future stars as we look to find the next crop of Australian Sevens players,” he said.

Entry is free all weekend at McGillivray Oval, and the ARU will be hoping that the public turns up in good numbers to support the future stars of Australian Rugby Sevens off the back of the success in Rio underlining the subsequent growth and popularity of the sport.

The competition begins on Saturday morning in Perth and will be streamed LIVE on rugby.com.au

Womens

Youth Sevens National Championship

POOL A

NSW Blue, QLD White, WA, National Indigenous, NT

POOL B

QLD Red, ACT, NSW White, SA, Victoria

For the Women's Youth Sevens LIVE stream, click here from 9:00am Local WA time - 12:00pm AEDT

Mens

Youth Sevens National Championship

POOL A

NSW Blue, QLD Red, NSW White, National Indigenous, NT

POOL B

Victoria, ACT, QLD White, WA, SA

For the Men's Youth Sevens LIVE stream, click here from 9:15am Local WA time - 12:15pm AEDT

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