Australian Women's Sevens program confirm double signing

by staff

Australian Rugby today announced that Laura Waldie and Shenae Ciesiolka have signed professional contracts with the Qantas Australian Women's Sevens program, effective 1 July.

The Queensland-born pair played important roles as Australia claimed a Gold Medal at the inaugural Rugby Sevens tournament at the Youth Olympics in Nanjing last August.

Seventeen-year-old half-back Waldie said: "As a teenager, making the move from Brisbane to Sydney is a big one, but it is an amazing opportunity for me. I have trained with the national squad on a few occasions and it felt a bit daunting but they have been brilliant with me. They are so experienced and I can't wait to learn from them and the coaching staff.

"Charlotte [Caslick] is a player I look up to. We went to the same school and the fact she was nominated as one of the world's top four players by World Rugby last month is a huge motivation for me."

Ciesiolka, a month Waldie's junior, said: "It's really exciting and an opportunity you just can't knock back if you want to pursue a career path in Rugby Union. It will be a big change, but it is an exciting one.

"I played in the National Sevens Championships alongside the likes of Shannon Parry, Emilee Cherry and Charlotte Caslick as well as Tiana [Penitani] and Brooke [Anderson] so I know a few of the team already which should help."

Qantas Australian Women's Sevens Head Coach Tim Walsh said: "I'm delighted to be able to bring Laura and Shenae into the program. I'm looking forward to working with both of them on a daily basis and play a part in their development as Rugby Sevens players.

"They are already talented players in their own right, but the challenge is to now put them on a path that will see both of them fulfil their potential and become world-class players.

"Laura is a playmaker who has a clever football brain while Shenae has always impressed me with her all-round athletic ability and Sevens versatility.

"The standard of the World Series has gone through the roof over the past 12 months and I'll be continuing to review the squad to ensure we have a steady stream of world-class talent coming through the ranks as we prepare not only for the Rio 2016 Olympics, but the Sevens World Cup in 2017 and the Commonwealth Games a year later on the Gold Coast."

Waldie has been named in the Australian squad that will travel to Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea for the 2015 Pacific Games next week while Ciesiolka will train at the home of Australian Sevens Rugby as she continues her rehabilition from a shoulder injury.

Shenae Ciesiolka Factfile

Date of Birth: 7/8/97 (aged 17)

Place of Birth: Toowoomba, QLD

Hometown: Toowoomba, QLD

Height: 170cm

Weight: 62kg

Laura Waldie Factfile

Date of Birth: 7/7/97 (aged 17)

Place of Birth: Camp Hill, QLD

Hometown: Brisbane, QLD

Height: 166cm

Weight: 61kg