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By ARU Media Unit
Canberra plays host to the best talent in the country when the 2014 National Women's Rugby Sevens Championship hits the Australian Institute of Sport this weekend (8-9 March).
The tournament will see international stars Emilee Cherry (Queensland Red), Sharni Williams (ACT), Ellia Green (Melbourne Rebels), a host of up-and-coming talent as well as some experienced players face off against each other in the two-day tournament.
New South Wales (two sides), Queensland (two sides), South Australia, Victoria, Western Australia, Northern Territory and the ACT will each have a side playing. There will also be a team from the Australian Services, a National Indigenous side as well as a Barbarians outfit.
International Sevens player Emma Tonegato will be playing for NSW Blue and can't wait to be playing against some of the players she trains with each day in Narrabeen [the home of the Australian Rugby Sevens program].
"I'm really excited about the weekend. It's going to be really different playing against our team mates but we've got a few current and ex-international players in our NSW White squad so we should go alright.
"It will be interesting playing against the likes of Sharni [Williams] and Quirky [Alicia Quirk] for sure."
Meanwhile, coach of the Australian Services Rugby Union Women's Team (ASRU-W), Jo Downes, said the side cannot wait for the weekend: "Our team is courage and character personified. They embody the Anzac legend in their on-field spirt and sportsmanship. They tackle tough and run hard.
"They personify mateship on the playing field, no matter what the score. The team is always a fine balance of youth and experience. ASRU-W always play with great passion to uphold the Anzac legend."
Australian Women’s Sevens Team Head Coach Tim Walsh will be at the event in Canberra keeping a close eye on potential recruits for the national side: “The tournament gives me and the rest of the staff the ideal opportunity to identify potential players and review existing talent in a tournament format similar to an IRB series round.
"With Rugby Sevens featuring in the Olympics for the first time in Rio in 2016, there really hasn’t been a better time for Seven’s players to stick their hand up for national team selection.”
The Championship kicks off on Saturday at 9am when Queensland White take on a Northern Territory side boasting experienced playmaker Bo de la Cruz in its ranks. The 12 teams are split into three pools, culminating in Sunday's Cup Final at 14:26.
The ACT will be looking to defend their crown having claimed the 2013 National Women’s Rugby Sevens Championship in Sydney.
The National Women’s Rugby Sevens Championship is a national residential Championship for female players from state/territory and affiliate representative towns, hosted annually by Australian Rugby Union.
Pool A: Australian Capital Territory, National Indigenous, Victoria, Barbarians
Pool B: Queensland Red, Western Australia, New South Wales White, Australian Services
Pool C: Queensland White, New South Wales Blue, South Australia, Northern Territory