Imagine starting your first elite coaching role knowing you’ll possibly have an Olympic gold medallist at your disposal, and a handful of the world’s best at their craft.
That’s exactly the task that former Wallaby Luke Burgess, now based in Tasmania, is set to embrace in the upcoming Uni7s
Burgess, who’ll have Ellia Green, Georgie Friedrichs and Shanice Parker at his disposal for the University of Tasmania in the inaugural Uni 7s.
While an ACL injury means Rio Olympian Green won’t be available, Burgess said she would still be heavily involved throughout the preparation.
The national players will join their respective teams in the lead-up to the four Uni7s tournaments that run between August 25 and September 30.
Players have been evenly spread between the eight teams, with every team having at least two national representatives, and one Rio gold medallist, on their list.
The Uni7s coaches have been at Narrabeen in recent days, learning off Australia coach Tim Walsh and experienced manager Scott Bowen, an invaluable experience for Burgess and his 23-year-old assistant James Irwin.
Tasmania will kick off the competition and with athletes from sports as diverse as kayaking to AFL, the team has a chance to fill a very rare void in the state.
“There’s not a lot of sports in Tasmania that have teams in national competitions, so it’s great for Tasmania...and it’s a great opportunity to travel and play.”
The university link is a valuable one too, with players able to gain scholarships for their endeavours.
“The intricate link with unis is providing young girls with study opportunities and that’s what rugby’s all about - it’s not about giving them an opportunity and spitting them out a decade later, it’s about making better people as well as better athletes.”
Tasmania’s side will be picked in the coming weeks, after the conclusion of an Autumn Sevens series, with a focus on developing the skills needed for Sevens.
Uni7s player allocation
University of New England, NSW - Alicia Quirk and Hannah Southwell
Macquarie University, NSW - Dominique Du Toit and Chloe Dalton
University of Tasmania, TAS - Ellia Green, Georgie Friedrichs and Shanice Parker
University of Adelaide, SA - Emma Tonegato, Evania Pelite and Mahalia Murphy
University of Canberra, ACT- Sharni Williams and Brooke Anderson
Griffith University, QLD - Shannon Parry and Demi Hayes
Bond University, QLD - Charlotte Caslick and Brooke Walker
University of Queensland, QLD - Emilee Cherry and Emma Sykes