The University of Adelaide have selected a 26-strong squad for the inaugural Aon Women’s National University Sevens Series with three of the Aussie sevens ‘golden girls’ leading the campaign.
The UA squad has been affectionately named in honour of Dame Roma Mitchel, a champion of women’s rights and the first Australian woman to be a Judge, an Australian University Chancellor (Adelaide) and a State Governor (SA).
The Romas will be spearheaded by Emma Tonegato, Evania Pelite and Mahalia Murphy who will be leading the Adelaide-based squad which is made up of over 60 percent university students – more than two-thirds of whom are new to rugby.
Coach James O’Keefe has been pleased with the individual skills on display at both training and in recent practice games.
“I’m hoping we will cause some upsets throughout the tournament and there is no doubt that after the first tournament we will be much more settled” he said.
“Our trial matches against the University of Tasmania allowed us to form some combinations, and the girls really grasped the game with two hands – there were plenty of stand outs.”
TRIAL MATCHES v UTAS 🏈 The @uniofadelaide Roma's tonight recapped our matches of the weekend trials against UTAS! For many of the players it was their first competitive sevens match, and they smashed it 💪 Next up - Round 1 @cityoflaunceston Tasmania! #uni7s #rugby7s #rugbygirl #romahasit #dayymroma #trials #universityofadelaide @rugbycomau @rugbyunion_sa @aublacks @aussie7s @utasredwomen @gilbert_union
Adding some depth, Ebony Satala has been named in the squad of 26.
Originally from Adelaide, she has played for the South Australian Sevens state team for a number of years but more impressively made her debut for Fiji in the Clermont leg of the HSBC Women’s Sevens World Series in 2016.
Satala will be lining up alongside her friend and experienced squad member, former Youth Australian Sevens player and current Jillaroo Eva Karpani.
The broader South Australian Rugby community has been reaping the benefits of the anticipated success of the Uni7s program, with many women signing up for sevens through not only the university option, but also being directed to local club rugby, which is just coming into its 2017 finals series.
Coach O’Keefe has tried to replicate the success of the Aussie Sevens program by recruiting from several sports.
“Our squad has a great variety of skillsets and includes talented sportswomen from Touch, Aussie Rules, Netball, Soccer, Handball, Athletics, local club rugby and even Ultimate Frisbee,” he said.
The Romas have developed a strong culture emulating their namesake, which will hopefully transfer to their on-field performance.
University of Adelaide Uni7s squad
Catch the inaugural Aon Uni 7s LIVE and free from Tasmania on August 25 on RUGBY.com.au, and RUGBY.com.au Facebook LIVE.