UQ's Ijdens "has to" retire as rugby rigours take their toll

Uni 7s
by Sarah Friend

Uni 7s star and Dutch rugby International Jannicke Ijdens feels she "has to" retire from rugby this season as the physical demands of the sport take their toll.

This Aon Uni Sevens series will be the former UQ skipper's last with her swansong coming in Canberra this weekend.

Ijdens was one of the first international signings in the Aon Uni 7s competition and has been a pivotal member of the UQ side in its run through the three Uni 7s series that have been staged since 2017.

This year, though, Ijdens has been feeling the physical toll just that little bit more and she said she had to listen to her body.

Jannicke Ijdens is retiring from rugby. Photo: Karen Watson“I’m 31 at the moment and I just feel the body says no,” Ijdens said.

“I would love to do another season, but the body says no, (I've had a) couple of injuries.

"It was just too hard last year to push through, but I pushed through and I’m her and I’m really enjoying being here but it’s definitely my last Aon (series).

“Even though it’s sad and I don’t want to.

“I have to."

Jannicke Ijdens tackles Emily Chancellor. Photo: Karen WatsonUQ sit on top of the Uni 7s ladder with one leg remaining, sitting six points clear of Griffith University and the University of Sydney.

Those teams have split the gold medals in the three legs that been played so far and will all be pushing for the gold medal and the overall series crown this weekend.

The 2017 champions will go head-to-head with Griffith, UTS, UNE and Bond in their Canberra pool as they push to clinch a second series title. 

Ijdens said she was determined to help her side finish the season on a high.

“Hopefully we can take the trophy back home,” she said.

“It would be awesome to end my career, at least Aon, with that.

"I’ll probably play a couple of social Sevens tournaments but it would be awesome to take the trophy back home and then I can say, 'Bye girls, at least we won all the last games'.”

Jannicke Ijdens desperately wants to finish on a high. Photo: Karen WatsonThough Ijdens won't be lacing up the boots anymore, she won't be far away from the action in the future.

“I definitely will be involved in rugby as a medical or supporter. I just love the sport way too much and specially the Aon Series.

“it’s just awesome that girls can play on a high level and see them develop and hopefully they can make it to Australia national teams.

“I’ll definitely be involved.

“If I don’t get a job somewhere, I’m on the sidelines cheering on the girls from every team because I love it so much.”

The final leg of the Aon Uni 7s series kicks off at the University of Canberra on Saturday October 26, starting at 9am AEDT.