Aon Uni7s: What to expect in round two

Uni 7s
by RUGBY.com.au staff

What can we expected from the second round of the Uni7s?

This weekend, the series moves to Macquarie University, running in tandem with the NRC.

UNIVERSITY OF TASMANIA

What happened in round one?

 It was a tough start for the University of Tasmania, who sit last on the ladder heading into Sydney.

Round two changes

Alice Robinson and Michaela Emblem are both unavailable through concussion, replaced by Rebecca Hyland and Eloise Struwe.

What the coach says

Coach Luke Burgess said the opening round of the tournament was a learning exercise for his young team.

“I see a lot of exciting potential in this team, the standard of play from everyone was really high, and we certainly learned a lot from the opening round,” he said.

“If we can run straighter, we’ll create more opportunities, so we just need to take time to look at the defensive line and avoid instinctively tracking across field.

“We’ve been doing a lot of work on basic Sevens principles, but there are a lot of good athletes in the fold, so it’ll just be about seeing the whole picture on the field and developing some good practices.”

UNIVERSITY OF QUEENSLAND


What happened in round one?

University of Queensland won the opening tournament in Launceston, dominating the competition.

Ten points was their smallest winning margin, with Queensland rivals Bond University pushing them the most.

With a star-studded act led by World Series players Emilee Cherry and Emma Sykes, as well as the impressive Grace Kaihau and Lily Dick, UQ blitzed the field.

Round two changes

Nil.

What the coach says

UQ coach Reg Tayler said they wouldn’t be resting on their laurels despite their early success.

 “It was great to have the girls for such a long time before the tournament, and we made sure the focus was getting game time into them before the opening round," he said.

“Obviously we wanted to adapt our style around Emilee [Cherry] and Emma [Sykes], but we made sure the whole 12 had a role and did their job, and executed the game plan we set out.

“We’ve been big on building team culture, especially around accountability, and we’re going to look to build on what we managed in Tasmania. We’ve been doing a lot of training around improving core skills when fatigued. It has to change now that we’ve become the hunted.”

UNIVERSITY OF ADELAIDE


What happened in round one?

University of Adelaide struggled last round without the presence of international superstar Mahalia Murphy, but were led from the front by Murphy’s Australian Sevens teammate Evania Pelite, as well as the impressive Eva Karpani and Alice Gregory.

With eight of their 12-player squad new to rugby, the South Australians could take positives from a 14-7 win over University of Tasmania in their last rubber, as they look to build for the second leg.

Round two changes

Murphy will join her Uni7s teammates this weekend, after returning from the Wallaroos’ World Cup campaign.

Tamzin Filer and Emma Pienaar will be two other additions, set to provide their squad with far greater rugby depth than it boasted in the first round.

What the coach says

Romas coach James O’Keefe said he was happy in which the direction of his side was heading.

“It’s all about exposure and experience to this level of competition. We found some key work-ons in Launceston, and the concepts of the game will come together soon enough,” he said.

“Our team is strong around the park, we play cohesively, so it’ll just be about working towards a common goal, and bringing different players into the game.

“Creating opportunities and our level of support play is also something we’ve had our eye on.”

UNIVERSITY OF CANBERRA

What happened in round one?

There was plenty of hype around UC heading into Launceston, but they came away with just two wins from the tournament, with some key players yet to link up with the squad.

Round two changes

Canberra will be buoyed by the addition of USA Eagles star Abby Gustaitis, as well as Aussie Sevens’ Cassie Staples.

What the coach says

Coach David Grimmond said his side had to focus on stopping scores as much as scoring themselves this weekend.

“We have a mix of girls with and without rugby backgrounds, and we’ve only had two very short months together, so we’re working hard on game awareness with a view on improving to where we want to be.

“We’ve got a strong attacking squad, but our defence let us down, so we’ve got a defensive focus heading into this week.

“We have plenty of athletes in this squad, and not that many rugby players, but if we can hold the ball and keep the ball, I’m confident we can come up with some good results.”

BOND UNIVERSITY


What happened in round one?

Bond University identified themselves as one of the teams to beat in round one of the Uni 7s, making it to the final before going down to the Red Heavies.

Behind Aussie Sevens superstar Charlotte Caslick and Irish-born Stacey Flood, as well as budding stars Trinity Mamoe and Stephanie Rutherford, Bond’s squad combined to near-perfection, with their only losses coming at the hands of northern rivals, UQ, and the University of New England.

Round two changes

Playmaker Sissy Masters is set to miss the second leg with a back complaint.

What the coach says

Sevens great Ben Gollings said the opening leg had taught his side plenty.

“We were able to come out and keep performing, and we learn quickly from mistakes. There’s a big learning curve in this tournament,” he said.

“We’re looking to give the girls an opportunity, but not break them, just give them confidence.

“You have to learn from your experiences. That’s Sevens rugby.

“It isn’t about one-off performances, it’s about consistency, and you have to grow from tournament to tournament.”

MACQUARIE UNIVERSITY

What can we expect from the Macquarie leg of the Uni 7s? Photo: ARU Media/Karen Watson

What happened in round one?

Macquarie University finished third in Tasmania, showing they will be a force to be reckoned with when at full strength.

Nita Maynard and Layne Morgan were two of Macquarie’s standouts in the tournament.

Round two changes

Katie Harrison will be the only Ray dropping out of the squad for their home leg.

What the coach says

Though he missed the opening round, handing the reins to Aussie Sevens’ James Stannard, McMahon found plenty of optimism from his team’s finish.

“I handed the keys of the Ferrari to Stannard for the weekend, and he brought me back a Mazda,” McMahon joked.

“I was really impressed with our tournament in Tasmania, it was our first real hit out as a squad, and I think we’ve got a really high potential, high ceiling team.

“There’s been a big focus on what we did well, and what we did not do so well, and a focus on accountability.

“The girls have worked hard on themselves this week, we’re working on nailing down our process, and getting some clarity around what we’re doing.

“There’s plenty more to come from Macquarie University.”

UNIVERSITY OF NEW ENGLAND

What happened in round one?

Many were surprised by UNE’s showing in round one, winning three games, including a first-up win against the impressive Bond University.

Emma Gilogily, Mel Howard and Alicia Quirk led the charge for New England, as they presented themselves as a squad to watch for in future rounds, and the dark horse for Sydney.

Round two changes

UNE coach Tom Bower will bring in two backs for a utility and a forward this weekend, with Kearni Churchland and Kate Gilbert to replace Gilogily and Riley McKay.

What the coach says

Bower was happy with his team’s opening hit-out, something they are keen to build on.

“We have a culture set by some of our senior players, and we saw that come through with how the girls fought for each other, particularly in defence,” he said.

“There were not a lot of missed one-on-one tackles, which shows the commitment we have to each other.

“We have some KPIs we want to achieve for this coming weekend, but defence is a big one we want to improve on – getting off the line quickly, putting pressure on, and attacking off the back of that.”

GRIFFITH UNIVERSITY


What happened in round one?

Griffith endured an agonising start to life in the Uni 7s tournament, narrowly missing the final, going down to Bond, though Alysia Lefau-Fakaosilea imressed in the inaugural round for the Knights.

Round two changes

Griffith are likely to be without two of their Aussie Sevens marquees, with Demi Hayes injured in Launceston and Shannon Parry working her way back from an injury she suffered at the XVs World Cup.

What the coach says

Coach Moana Virtue noted her team’s disappointment at missing the final, but said they were working on where they came up short in Tasmania.

“The girls were a little disappointed, obviously everyone wants to make the Grand Final, but there were a lot of positives, and it was good to finally play some games.

“We’ve been concentrating on defence the past fortnight, we were a little disconnected in that area, and we’ve also been working our combinations together to get things tighter.”

The second leg of the Aon Uni7s kicks off at Macquarie Uni on Saturday September 9, 10am AEST, streamed LIVE on RUGBY.com.au.