Tayler jumps for joy as UQ embrace hunted tag

Uni 7s
by Sam Phillips

As Bodil Van Wijnbergen scored the tournament winning try for UQ on Sunday, ecstatic coach Reg Tayler could be seen on the sidelines jumping for joy.

There's a simple reason for that, according to Tayler.

Where UQ hardly got out of first gear in their Launceston tournament win, they were pushed to their limits at Macquarie.

They were the hunted and it took until the final minute to get over the line against Bond, who they beat in the final at UTAS as well.

"Everyone has really bought into the concept and the standard has picked up immensely from the first tournament," Tayler told RUGBY.com.au.

"The jumping around was excitement because of how tough the tournament was and the excitement of getting a win at the end of it.

"It was a bumpier road than Tassie but we got there in the end.

"We thought that straight after Tassie and we knew the teams were going to come out against us to try and knock us off our perch.

"It adds to how proud our coaching staff was to hold them off."

Tayler's side are yet to drop a game and that has plenty to do with the form of Australian Sevens superstar Emilee Cherry.

Cherry, along with Australian teammate Emma Sykes, have been superb in the first two tournaments.

"Both of them have shown their class in the last tournament, especially Emilee," Tayler said.Emilee Cherry and UQ have had Bond's measure in the first two tournaments. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Karen Watson"Just around the squad, her leadership, on the field and off the field has been invaluable for us."

Cherry, speaking at UQ's St Lucia campus, where the third tournament will be held this weekend, said she expected a lift in standard once again come Saturday.

"Tasmania really shook all of us Aussie Sevens girls," she said.

"We weren't really sure, going into it, what the standard was like, we didn't really get to train with our time so we didn't know what they were like but the standard has blown us away.

"I think the standard has improved going from Tasmania to Macquarie.

"It's scary, looking at UQ, the teams are only going to get better and they're going to get faster and a lot smarter."Cherry and the Australian Sevens squad are using Uni 7s as a platform for a big 2017/18. Photo: Getty ImagesAs an Aussie Sevens star, Cherry said she, along with the rest of the squad, are using the tournament as an added layer of preparation ahead of a 2017/18 which features the World Series, Commonwealth Games and World Cup.

"Usually we are in the midst of preseason, which we are at the moment, we trained yesterday as a squad so we still have a preseason focus.

"The games are really fast, I think they're a lot faster than what we find on the World Series so it's really good prep for us."

Fellow Aussie Sevens squad member Brooke Walker has been one of the stars guiding Bond to back-to-back grand finals.

Falling short to UQ has left a bitter taste in the mouths of Walker and co but they are comfortable doing the hunting, rather than being the hunted, as they were in the grand final after getting out to a lead.

"I think it's more disappointment because I thought out there, and I think the girls thought this as well, we believed that in the two finals, we have kind of just lost them for ourselves," Walker said.

"Especially the second final, we felt like we were being hunted the whole time, which led to a bit of pressure and mistakes in costly areas of the game.

"You can see UQ have spotted gaps in our line and capitalised on them so we are working really hard on that ahead of this weekend.

"They're being hunted - they're the class team so you expect that when you're on top for so long."

Every tournament, every match, LIVE and exclusive on RUGBY.com.au, RUGBY.com.au Facebook LIVE and @RUGBYcomau Twitter.