UTS, UWA to replace Macquarie and UTas in 2019 Uni 7s

Uni 7s
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman in Japan

University of Technology Sydney will join the University of Western Australia in the 2019 Uni 7s competition with Macquarie and the University of Tasmania exiting the tournament.

Macquarie, who were one of last year's most impressive teams, ended their sponsorship of the Sevens program and that of their male NRC counterparts, the Sydney Rays, after four years.

The former Macquarie program will change little in the shift to UTS, with Nathan McMahon remaining as coach and many of their big names expected to remain a part of the squad in the third Uni 7s season.

UTas has been an improver in the competition but opted against continuing their involvement this year, facing some challenges getting players together.

UWA's entry into the competition had been rubber stamped a year ago, becoming the third entirely new team after Sydney and Melbourne Unis joined the competition in 2018.

Rugby AU CEO Raelene Castle said the addition of UTS was a big boon for the tournament, which has produced a number of full-time Aussie Sevens prospects in its two-season run so far.

“It’s fantastic for the Aon University Sevens Series that we have a University with the standing and resources of UTS joining the competition for this year," she said.

“The Aon University Sevens Series continues to be an exciting new competition that provides a national platform to develop and grow Women’s Sevens, uncover the next generation of elite talent, whilst also creating some excellent content for fans.

“The competition went from strength to strength over the last two seasons and I know season three will be bigger and better than ever.”

ActivateUTS Chief Executive Elizabeth Morgan-Brett said UTS was excited to give players a chance to feature in a tournament like the Uni 7s.

“As the delivering agent for all UTS Sport, ActivateUTS is thrilled to be competing in Women’s AON Sevens this year.

“Our athletes will take the field and compete against Australian’s best, with the driver being selection in the Aussie Women’s Sevens Team that will compete at the Tokyo Olympics next year.”

University of Western Australia Sport General Manager, Ian Fitzpatrick said he felt their inclusion could help grow rugby at the uni.

"UWA is excited to represent itself and the wider WA Rugby community through its support of a dynamic and talented team in the 2019 and 2020 competitions."

"The unique structure of the competition, its value to the student-athlete cohort at UWA and impact we believe it can have for rugby on campus are all keys drivers in our being involved.

“Equally, we are continuing to work on how we connect the program to deliver student outcomes in work integrated learning, leadership, team management, and future research, ensuring the program delivers on and off the park.

"Competitions like the Aon University Sevens Series are important in recognising and highlighting the value that Universities and University Sport Australia bring to the wider sporting structure in Australia.”

A start date for the third Uni 7s competition is yet to be made public but it is expected it will kick off in August this year.