QRU to unveil Queensland Premier Rugby Sevens

by Sam Phillips

The QRU will today unveil plans to revolutionise the Australian Sevens pathway with a competition featuring each of the nine Queensland Premier Rugby clubs.

The new tournament - dubbed Queensland Premier Rugby Sevens - will feature four tournaments between September and November.

The first leg will coincide with University of Queensland's Aon Uni 7s leg on September 22, the three remaining tournaments to be held at Brothers on October 6, Wests on November 3 and Easts on November 17.

The initiative will provide an invaluable talent pool for Australian Men's Sevens coach Tim Walsh to pick through in the same way Australian Women's Sevens coach John Manenti has uncovered hidden gems in Page McGregor, Lauren Brown and Yasmin Meakes who have now become staples in the Australian fold.

"The growing popularity of Sevens has all the Premier Rugby clubs engaged and interested in the game, so it made sense for us to have our own competition," Sunnybank GM Gaven Head said.The new tournaments will provide a pathway for livewire talents such as GPS' Josh Collins. Photo: QRU Media/Brendan Hertel"Previously clubs have played in other competitions elsewhere, which can be expensive, and given the quality of our 15s competition, it seems fitting for us to come together and have a Premier Rugby Sevens competition.

"Queensland Premier Rugby as a competition and brand is well regarded and all nine clubs are on board.

"The competition secures the Sevens pathway in Queensland. Players join Premier Rugby clubs to chase their aspirations in the 15s format, and now they can do the same in Sevens."

The nine Premier Rugby clubs will also be joined by a trio of invitational teams.

It's understood the Australian Defence Force, Northern Territory, a Barbarians side from Sydney and Australian Sevens circuit regulars Iconz will all take part in at least one of the four tournaments.

The tournament format is unique, with pool games played through the day before finals kick off at night.Con Foley starred on the World Series Sevens circuit. Photo: QRU Media/Brendan Hertel"The unique format will be special, one day and on one field," Head said.

"We will have night session and people can enjoy it live or watch online. All the teams will still be playing in the night session whether they’re at the top of the ladder or at the bottom."

The competition will be used as a selection tool for the Queensland Men’s Sevens teams ahead of the National Sevens Championships in December, with spots in the Queensland Academy of Sport 2019 squad also up for grabs.

"This is a really exciting development for Men’s Sevens in Queensland,” said QRU Sevens High Performance Manager Lachlan Parkinson.

"We’ve had an established pathway for Women’s Sevens in Queensland, with the help of the QAS, for a number of years and have had players such as Demi Hayes and Emma Sykes go on and star on the World Series and at the Commonwealth Games. We hope we can create the same clear pathway for the Men."

All tournaments will be streamed LIVE on RUGBY.com.au and redsrugby.com.au.