National duo use Uni 7s to push for World Series returns

Uni 7s
by Sarah Friend

Aussie Women's Sevens pair Demi Hayes and Lily Dick are  hoping the Uni 7s series can help provide a springboard back onto the World Series.

Hayes and Dick have both had long sideline stints with ankle injuries but made successful comebacks for Griffith University in last weekend's Aon Uni 7s leg in Adelaide.

The duo missed out on the opening World Series leg in the USA, in which Australia nabbed a silver medal, but they have their sights set on Dubai comebacks.

Spurred on by Australia’s impressive run in Colorado Dick and Hayes didn’t disappoint when they returned to the paddock for Griffith University for round three of the Aon University Series.

For Hayes, the chance to play rugby after nearly a year out with syndesmosis was one she relished.

“It’s been super exciting,” she said.

Aussie Sevens star Demi Hayes hopes the Uni 7s can provide a platform for her World Series return. Photo: Karen Watson“Adelaide has been awesome, and I think it’s just been really exciting to get back out on the footy field and do my thing.”

Hayes was dominant on day one of the competition crossing for Griffith Uni with her first touch of the ball, though she was quick to pass credit onto her teammates for that.

“It was probably a bit of a fluke that I scored with my first touch, but all the girls had my back," she said.

“They came up to me and gave me a big high-five so that’s just awesome to have them behind me and then the Aussie girls wishing me luck as well.”

The 21-year-old was restricted to just half a match in every game in Adelaide but she hoped it would be the beginning of building back into full-flight Sevens.

Australia plays in the upcoming Oceania Sevens in November before the second World Series leg in Dubai in December and the first Cape Town women's Sevens just a week later.

“Looking forward we’ve got Oceania coming up and then further on we’ve got Dubai and Cape Town so that’s what I’m looking forward to," she said.

“I’m not really fazed about how many minutes I get here as long as I’m getting games under my belt, and I feel awesome out there my bodies feeling great, so I think that’s the main thing.”

Lily Dick was glad to be back on the field. Photo: Karen WatsonDick's layoff was not as long as Hayes', forced out for a month, but she was similarly pleased to be back on the field.

“It was only a minor ankle injury,” Dick said.

“I had a couple weeks off, bit of rehab but it was awesome to be back out there, get some minutes under my belt.”

The pair could be handy assets for Griffith with one Uni 7s leg to come.

After finishing third in Adelaide, Griffith sits equal-second in the overall table going into the final tournament in Canberra on October 26 and 27.

Australia's national players have been generally more available to play in the tournaments this year and Dick said with a host of Aussie players back in the mix, competition should be as tight as ever.

“With all the Aussie girls back, it’ll change I t up a bit and all the team will have a lot more strength, but it’ll be good to verse those girls,” she said.

“It’s always a bit of fun and changes it up a little bit.

"Hopefully we can get on the podium.”

Canberra hosts the final leg of the 2019 Uni 7s Series, kicking off on Saturday October 26.