Emerging stars from across Australia participated in the first National Sevens Education Camp at Narrabeen last weekend, with boys in the Under 17s and Under 18s age bracket enjoying three days of training under the watchful eye of Australian Director of Rugby Sevens Geraint John.
Twenty-two players were drawn from Australian Rugby’s development pathways, including members of the 2014 Australian Schools team and Junior Gold Cup sides.
The goal of the camp was to introduce the group of up-and-comers to the centralised Sevens set-up at the Sydney Academy of Sport and Recreation and familiarise them with a professional sporting environment.
Players took part in a range of Rugby and education-focused activities, giving them a chance to showcase their skills and enjoy the high performance facilities at Narrabeen.
The Qantas Australian Men’s Sevens team took time out of their preparations for the Dubai Sevens to train alongside the younger players and run group sessions in the classroom.
Talent Development Coordinator of Rugby Sevens, Hugh Carpenter, put the juniors through their paces during the camp and was impressed with their aptitude for the shorter format of the game.
“We handpicked these players from across Australia and it didn’t take long for them to transfer their skills to the structure of the seven-a-side game,” he said.
“The camp provided an opportunity for the younger boys to familiarise themselves with the centralised base at Narrabeen and learn a bit more about the culture of Rugby Sevens.
“It also gave them a chance to engage with some of the current Australian Sevens players and learn from their experiences in professional Rugby on and off the field.”
Geraint John joined in on the action as well, volunteering his Saturday evening to run a session with the talented youngsters.
“There are plenty of quality players in our pathways that are suited to Sevens and camps like this are the ideal platform to uncover and nurture future Rugby talent,” John said.
“Player development is at the forefront of our planning and forms an important link to fostering future success in Sevens at the elite and grassroots level. I hope they all enjoyed the weekend at Narrabeen and took something away from the experience.”
Australian Schools Representatives Reece Hewat (QLD), Simon Kennewell (NSW) and Sione Tuipulotu (VIC) were standouts at the camp and are among players pushing for selection in the Under 18s National Sevens Championships early next year.
Also on the agenda is the Youth Commonwealth Games in 2015, which will see players travel to Samoa and compete in an international Sevens event for the first time.
The National Sevens Education Camp marks another chapter in talent development as Australian Rugby looks to provide Sevens pathway opportunities for young players and capitalise on the sports inclusion in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.