Challengers emerge but UQ juggernaut keeps rolling

Uni 7s
by Jill Scanlon

It was heart break for Bond at Macquarie, who again walked away with the silver medal when the opportunity for gold was within their grasp.

Strong work from Charlotte Caslick, Brooke Walker and Millie Boyle had Bond looking like they had control at key points in the game but a great performance from Lily Dick for UQ, who scored a double, kept them in check.

The leadership of captain Mackenzie Sadler, who was well supported by the experience of Emilee Cherry and Emma Sykes, just underlined the overall performance across the field of the series leaders.

Sadler was understandably thrilled with her team’s second title win.

“It was a tough game – Bond always bring it to us – we really had to work hard for it,” she said.

The bronze medal match was also a repeat of the battle that was waged a fortnight ago in Tasmania between Griffith University and hosts Macquarie.

Griffith was out to exact revenge while Macquarie was determined to finish on a high in front of the home crowd.

Unfortunately for the Rays, early errors allowed the Queenslanders to get a foothold in the contest.

They were ruthless at the ruck and went wide to find space and scoring opportunities.

Bronze medal winning captain Lauren Brown was impressive in the 20-5 win and was understandably excited that Griffith University had turned the tables from Launceston.

“That was an amazing game, we came out strong and we held them all the way,” she said.

In the earlier games to decide the bottom four placings, University of Tasmania took on University of New England in the seventh place playoff.

Despite the loss of Alicia Quirk through injury, Aussie young gun Hannah Southwell took on the role of key playmaker, leading her less experienced teammates by example in the low scoring game.

Southwell was pleased with the way UNE performed, believing the team just has to tweak the basics ahead of round three in Brisbane next week.

“We’ve just got to work on the little things, making sure our passes stick and things,” she said.

For UTAS there is work to be done but the talent and hard work of Lauren Murty, Kiki Morgan and Shanice Parker should be acknowledged as a part of a team which is very much in the development stages of Sevens.

The battle for fifth place was fought between University of Canberra and the University of Adelaide.

The addition of Mahalia Murphy, joining Aussie teammate Vani Pelite, certainly made the difference, giving added leadership around the park and instilling confidence in performance for the newer players.

The pair got Adelaide off to a strong start and with impressive performances from captain Lauren Kildare and Eva Karpani, the 27-5 victory over a lacklustre Canberra side underlined the Romas' improvement from round one.

“We’re absolutely stoked," Kildare said.

"She (Murphy) adds that extra punch which makes all the difference in the end."

The second tournament of the Aon Uni7s Series has continued to showcase the talent that exists in Women’s rugby in Australia and more importantly, the talent which is emerging in Sevens through this competition.

Australian Sevens High Performance manager Scott Bowen has again been impressed with that emerging talent which bodes well for the future of both domestic and representative Sevens rugby.

“This tournament is still in its infancy and the girls are still learning the art of Sevens,” he said.

The action moves to Brisbane next weekend, when the University of Queensland will host round three of the Uni7s and the question begs – with the addition of home crowd support - can UQ be toppled?