The third round of the Aon Uni7s series kicked off today in glorious sunshine at St Lucia in Brisbane – home to tournament hosts, the University of Queensland.
Two notable outcomes from Day One in this penultimate round were the continued dominance of University of Queensland and the giant killing efforts of the team from the University of Canberra.
Much to the delight of a good home crowd, the day underlined just how good the UQ squad is as it finished the day still having not dropped a game in the series so far.
Crushing Adelaide in the opening game, the host team was challenged in the next, to the surprise of many, by the University of Tasmania and had to work hard in the second half to seal the 17-7 victory.
UTAS displayed some strong tackling efforts impressing Aussie coach Tim Walsh despite not securing a win.
“I was very impressed with Tasmania this morning. They are really dangerous; they have speed, they have size and they’re getting more and more experience,” he said.
“They’re a really well balanced team.”
UQ finished the day untroubled by Macquarie which perhaps says more about the Rays performance than it does about the series leader.
As for University of Canberra, a first up win against last week’s Bronze medallists Griffith was followed by the even bigger shock of a runaway 25-12 win over Bond University.
Great team work from the outset utilised the experience of Cassie Staples and Abby Gustaitis who challenged the silver medallists from the start.
Sharni Williams made her presence felt running strongly through the middle while Staples ran in a hat-trick out pacing Charlotte Caslick, and not for the first time.
The Adelaide Romas fought hard, finally putting a win on the board in the final session against UTAS.
University of New England joined UTAS in being winless for the day with the absence due to injury of Alicia Quirk’s experience and leadership a defining factor.
The final pool standings see UQ atop Pool A while Canberra secured its first top of the table finish – both teams going undefeated through the first day.
Griffith has finished out of the final four for the first time this series going down to Bond in what was ultimately a close one at the end of the day.
UQ will play Bond in the semi-final which means there will be a different look to the final for the first time in the competition.
Canberra will take on Macquarie University in the other semi with the Rays looking to regather some composure after a less than impressive performance against UQ to round out the first day.
Despite the stumble at the end though, Aussie High Performance manager Scott Bowen was full of praise for one young Ray.
“Katie Harrison has been a real revelation,” he said.
“A real player of potential, she is making her mark consistently.”
As predicted, or perhaps hoped for by Tim Walsh pre-tournament, a couple of the lower placed teams showed some drive on day one in Brisbane and shook up the status quo of the Uni 7s competition – UC being the standout with its giant killing run.
With University of Canberra finding its rhythm and no doubt full of confidence, will a final between this David against the UQ Goliath finally bring down the Queensland juggernaut of this Women’s Sevens competition?Kick off on Sunday will be at 8.40am with all the Aon Uni7s action LIVE and free on RUGBY.com.au, and RUGBY.com.au Facebook LIVE.