NRC’s Sydney Rays and the Aon Uni 7s’ Macquarie Uni Rays will link up for a historic double header this weekend.
Macquarie Uni plays host to the second Uni 7s series leg kicking off on Saturday, while the NRC Rays will also take on the Greater Sydney Rams in Sunday’s second round NRC clash.
The teams trained at the same time on Thursday, with NRC coach Julian Huxley and Uni 7s star Dominique du Toit excited about the weekend’s back-to-back matches.
“Seeing the quality of the girls’ team, they’re quality football players in their own right, we’re all part of the same club, and that’s the future of the game,” Huxley said.
“It’s about growing the rugby community of which they’re a massive part, so it’s great.
“It’s really nice, it’ll be a really good weekend of rugby,” du Toit added.
“We’re the only university that has that partnership with an NRC side, so it’s really nice that we’re able to have a weekend with them in their first round.”
The Rays’ NRC match against Greater Sydney is their first of the year after a first-round bye, and Huxley is confident his team can contend for its first title.
"You've got to get the culture right, and the guys have to want to be there, and at the end of a long season, if you don’t do that, it can be tough,” he said.
“We’re fortunate that a lot of the work we did last year has carried over to this year, and we’re pumped and ready to go.
“It might be a little difficult for (the Rams) in the sense that they haven’t seen us play this year, but on the other side of the coin, they’ve had a game together and we haven’t, so it’s going to be a great game.
“All the guys know each other quite well through the Shute Shield, so we’re really looking forward to it, all the boys are really ready to go, so it’ll be great to get stuck in.”
Du Toit said the Uni7s players were also keen to better their last result, a third-place finish in Launceston, as they prepare for their first home tournament.
“I wasn’t really too sure what to expect leading into it, but the quality across all the teams was really good and even, we were tested in every game,” she said.
“Having played in the World Series it always helps to be able to hone my skills in this uni comp.
“It should be a really good weekend, all the girls are obviously Sydney-based, so hopefully we have a bit of family support, that always gives you a bit more help and drive.”
The Rays will challenge the Rams for the Horan-Little Shield, who had an impressive win over the NSW Country Eagles in the opening round.
The second leg of the Uni7s kicks off at Macquare University on Saturday September 9, LIVE on RUGBY.com.au from 9am AEST.
The Sydney Rays take on the Greater Sydney Rams on Sunday September 10 at Macquarie University, kicking off at 3pm AEST LIVE on FOX SPORTS.