Aon Uni 7s: Cramer's inspirational journey from sevens reject to international star

Uni 7s
by Emma Greenwood

Lori Cramer has shared her journey from sevens reject to Wallaroos star with her University of Queensland teammates ahead of their Aon Uni 7s campaign as her team launches a bid for a second title.

UQ won the inaugural Uni 7s title in 2017 before finishing second overall to Griffith University last season.

Cramer, who made her Wallaroos debut against Japan earlier this year before playing both Tests against New Zealand, missed the cut for the inaugural season.

But instead of kicking stones, the talented outside back headed overseas on a mission to improve her game - a bid that has paid off in spades.

Queensland women's fullback Lori Cramer is looking forward to taking on the Brumbies. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley

As well as leading to her becoming the leading scorer in Super W last season, and earning a Test debut, Cramer developed a resilience she is keen to share with her UQ teammates as they look to open the Uni 7s season with a win in their home tournament at St Lucia this weekend.

"I got an opportunity to share that with the girls from our team, just (in terms of) selections - if you get disappointed with selection or you get dropped, it doesn't always mean that it's the end of the world," Cramer said.

"If you're not ready to play Aon or you're not ready to play at your club or local team, then maybe it's not such a bad thing, look what happened to me.

"I got dropped from the Aon squad and I had a chance to travel the world playing footy and play against some of the best in the world and from that, it's been the best thing for me.

"Everything happens for a reason in that sense. I am really excited to be able to play my first Aon series here because I'm always watching it on a phone in another country, so I can't wait to go."

 

Several Australian women's sevens players will be involved in the opening round, with members of the national team allocated to various Aon clubs and joining the team for round one and round four of the series.

Cramer applauded the move for both the elite players and those hoping to test themselves against the best.

"I love the fact that they're put back into the Aon set-up, just in the sense that there's a lot of young girls - or even old chooks like me - playing and it's always great to match yourself up and see how you go against the best in the world," she said.

"So I'm really excited to see how we go. It's not every day you get to play against world class like that."

Cass Staples and Emma Sykes have been allocated to UQ, although Staples will not play this weekend.

While UQ has a young side, Cramer said they had a belief they could be title contenders again.

"You've got to have confidence. You're always looking to win and you're always looking to do the best that you can but I recognise that we've got a really young team and that has its strengths and its weaknesses as well," she said.

"But we've got a really enthusiastic bunch of young girls in our team and I think we've got a good group together.

"We want to win every (round). But being held here (at UQ) and having friends and family be able to come and support you is always good and on home turf is something special, so we'll be definitely excited for the weekend."

UQ are the reigning champions. Photo: Karen Watson

The opening round of the Aon Uni 7s will be held at the University of Queensland on Saturday September 14 and Sunday, September 15, kicking off at 9am on Saturday. All games will be streamed LIVE on RUGBY.com.au.

THE DRAW

Pool A: Griffith University, University of Sydney, University of Adelaide, Bond University,  University of Melbourne 

Pool B: University of Queensland, University of Technology Sydney, University of Canberra, University of New England, University of Western Australia 

DAY 1

Round 1

Griffith v Bond, 9:20am

University of Adelaide v University of Melbourne, 9:40am

University of Queensland v UNE, 10:00am

University of Canberra v UWA, 10:20am 

Round 2

Griffith v University of Melbourne, 11:00am

University of Sydney v University of Adelaide, 11:20am

University of Queensland v UWA, 11:40am

UTS v University of Canberra, 12:00pm 

Round 3

University of Sydney v University of Melbourne, 1:00pm

Bond v University of Adelaide, 1:20pm  

UTS v UWA, 1:40pm

UNE v University of Canberra, 2:00pm 

Round 4

University of Sydney v Bond, 3:00pm

Griffith v University of Adelaide, 3:30pm

UTS v UNE, 3:30pm 

University of Queensland v University of Canberra, 4:00pm 

DAY 2

Round 5

Bond v University of Melbourne, 9:00am

Griffith v University of Sydney, 9:20am

UNE v UWA, 9:40am

University of Queensland v University of Canberra, 10:00am 

Semi-Finals

3rd Pool A v 4th Pool B, 11.00am 

3rd Pool B v 4th Pool A, 11.20am

1st Pool A v 2nd Pool B, 11.40am

1st Pool B v 1st Pool A, 12.00am 

Finals 

9th/10th Playoff, 1.00pm

7th/8th Playoff, 1.25pm

5th/6th Playoff, 1.50pm

Bronze Medal Match, 2.15pm

Gold Medal Match, 2.40pm