Aussie Sevens embark on search for next potential superstar

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

They’ve already got a squad with plenty of star quality but the Aussie Women’s Sevens team are opening the door to more Tokyo aspirants with a second round of their “Search for a Sevens Star”.

The Sevens talent spotters will hold trial days in Queensland next month, the first of what it is hoped will be an expanded tour to convert some talented athletes into prospective Olympians.

It’s fair to say the 2013 iteration was a success, unearthing dynamo Green and Rugby AU Performance manager Sevens Scott Bowen still recalls the day Green made her first mark, more than six years after the fact.

“There were about 75 girls were selected from around Australia and she wasn't someone that anyone had spoken about in terms of watching girls more closely as the days went on,” he said.

Ellia Green. Photo: Getty Images“As we went through the various drills and components and a lot of it was quite close quarters, so, a lot of contact - catch-pass but in limited space.

“It wasn't until we got to playing a game that we really noticed her, and I can still picture her - they all had four different coloured bibs - black, yellow, green, red.

“She was in a black bib wearing no. 5 - and she got the ball about halfway in from the field and she just took off on the outside.

“The  were all mic'd up and as soon as she got the ball and took off, I radioed straight through to (then coach) Chris Lane, that was January and Houston was our next world series and it's like, "that's what we need, let's pick her for Houston".

Just over three years later, then track star Green was an Olympic gold medallist.

AFLW star Chelsea Randall was another standout in that group and Bowen has high hopes for the talent they could uncover next month.

Queensland will be the starting point for the search, with plans to run similar events in conjunction with other Universities linked to the Uni 7s Series, including new addition University of Technology Sydney.

The Aussie women have qualified for Tokyo 2020. Photo: World RugbyWomen will undergo physical and skills testing as part of the three-hour sessions, designed to simulate the core skills required for Sevens.

The best prospects from the upcoming testing events will be flown down to Sydney for more testing and given a run in the Uni 7s Series, kicking off in September.

“Those testing days, once they've come to Sydney, depending on where they're at would determine that next stage,” he said.

“If we feel confidently there that we've seen enough, then we'd be in a position to back them and offer them a full-time contract as part of the squad.

“We certainly have the flexibility and the capacity to do that, it's just having that talent stand out that warrants us to move that quickly but we're able to do that.”

While Tokyo is the ideal destination for anyone at this camp, Bowen said there could be a number of paths to the top for any standouts.

“If there's one standing on the podium in Tokyo then it's a fairly good outcome and a worse-case scenario we may get more girls playing it, being introduced to the game through Aon and then getting a love for it and who knows?”

The Queensland dates kick off at the University of the Sunshine Coast on Thursday July 11, followed by events at Bond Uni, Griffith Uni and Ballymore.

A registration form is available here.

SCHEDULE

Search for a Sevens Star

Sunshine Coast

University of the Sunshine Coast

Thursday  July 11, 6-9pm

Sunday July 14, 10am-1pm

Gold Coast

Bond University

Wednesday July 17, 6-9pm

Griffith University

Sunday July 21, 10am-1pm

Brisbane

Ballymore Stadium

Saturday July 20, 10am-1pm

UQ

Wednesday July 24, 6-9pm

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