Super W to launch Australia's assault on World Cup

Super W
by Sam Phillips

Rod Kafer is hopeful the Buildcorp Super W will follow in the footsteps of the Aon Uni 7s, which helped catapult the Australian Women's Sevens side back to the top of the World Series.

Kafer, Rugby Australia's special projects manager, was on hand at the launch of Super W at Ballymore on Thursday and preached the importance of using the Super W as Australia's premier pathway to the Wallaroos in the same way the Uni 7s helped identify fresh talent for Tim Walsh in the Australian Sevens fold.

"The correlation between a well constructed pathway - that's easy to understand and easy to develop into greater success - it's a well trodden path," Kafer said.

"The Women's Sevens team's resurgence - some of that has been the competition that they played domestically - unearthing new talent and giving new players an opportunity to play more together.

"That's really important and the Buildcorp Super W gives us that opportunity again.Buildcorp's Josephine Sukkar has been a driving force behind building the Buildcorp Super W. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley"For the Wallaroos and particularly going into that World Cup - which we would love to be hosting in 2021 - that opportunity for this competition I think creates great opportunity for the Wallaroos."

While the inaugural competition will undoubtedly improve the level of talent that will feature for the Wallaroos, Kafer is also hopeful coaches will take great benefit from the added experience.

He pointed to soon-to-be Aussie Sevens coach John Manenti, who will take over from Walsh after the Commonwealth Games, as a perfect example of a coach that has been in charge of teams both male and female.

"What we don't have in the game at the moment is many coaches at the high level of female players," he said.

"We're starting to see coaches seeing it as an opportunity and as a career path as well.

"I'm really keen to keep looking at how we can continue to develop that.Emily Robinson will be one of the stars of the competition. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley"There are some gender differences in terms of how we coach females - just in terms of how (it's different) when we coach younger and older male rugby players - coaching male and female is slightly different.

"There are nuances in it but what's important for a coach is the more exposure we can give coaches to different environments, the better they get - they just grow."

"John Manenti is a good example.

"He coached Eastwood in Sydney, did some work with the Men's Sevens and is now an assistant to Tim Walsh and will take over from Tim Walsh when he finishes up after the Commonwealth Games.

"He will say he has learnt a hell of a lot coaching women."

Both the northern hemisphere nations and New Zealand have developed similar competitions to the Super W in recent years and now Australia is on par on that front, Kafer is hopeful the Wallaroos will be able to compete with those countries in the very near future.

"As we know in this game, what is so important at the elite end of the game is that we have to be winning at the elite end," he said.Emily Robinson and Kirby Sefo will square off on Saturday evening. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley"We have the Wallabies, we have the men's and women's Sevens team and we have the Wallaroos.

"That's right at the pinnacle of our game - they wear our national colours - they're a national team and we need to take pride in giving our teams the best opportunity to win and be successful."

In the long run, taking parts of the playing pathway from both the UK and New Zealand will provide the structure required to reach equal footing in the Test arena.

"There's been a long history around women's rugby in the UK," Kafer said.

"They have really well structured competitions there that sit just underneath what you could describe as the Premiership competition there.

"They've been the strength of the pathways.

"New Zealand rugby is now following a very similar pathway to their men in that they're conscious as to how they develop their athletes and coaches over time.

"The combination of those two models is a really good one.

"A strong domestic competition, a strong sense of athletic development, high performance, coaching and all the things that need to go into it."

The Super W gets underwayon Saturday at Suncorp Stadium when QLD host NSW, kicking off at 6pm AEDT, broadcast at 9pm AEDT on FOX SPORTS and on RUGBY.com.au.