Bond University has announced its squad for Round 1 of the 2018 Aon Uni 7s series, and its ambition to go ‘one better’ on last year’s silver medal-winning performance.
Coach Ben Gollings said he and the team were excited the time had finally arrived for them to put their hard work into practice when the series kicks off at the University of Tasmania in Hobart this weekend.
“It’s been a long build-up to this tournament, and the girls have been working hard and training really well together since January,” he said.
“They’ve come together as a tight-knit team and this weekend is their first opportunity to put everything they’ve learned out there and focus on performing.
“With two newcomers joining the tournament this year and changes to everyone’s line-ups, the opposition is largely unknown - so it’s going to be very interesting to see how this first round shapes up.”
Gollings said the team was hoping to build on last year’s results.
“Last year we came second. This year we’d love to go one better, but in this first game our focus is on simply doing our best,” he said.
“Our squad has a great balance of old and new faces. We’re thrilled to have Lauren Brown, who captained the Griffith University squad last year, join us and I’m sure her experience in last year’s series will benefit us greatly.
“Our Captain Jess Elliston is also returning for her second year. She’s improved and matured incredibly over the past two years, so I can’t wait to see what she brings to the game.
“Taylor Fenton has played with Bond for a year but was slightly too young to compete in Aon 2017 – so it will be exciting to see her play this year, as it will be to see Steph Rutherford in action - her pace makes her a real force to be reckoned with.
“We are also keen to see our Irish imports Eve Higgins and Kathy Baker and Canadian Gabby Senft in action. They add a different flavour to this year’s squad and have been training really well since they arrived on the Gold Coast.”
Gollings said the fact that the current Australian squad members were unlikely to compete in this year’s series was a shame, but understandable – and would potentially present more opportunity for this year’s competitors.
“Part of what the Aon Uni 7s series is all about is giving new talent the chance to grow and shine. I’m hoping the girls from Bond will be putting their hands up for the opportunities on offer this year,” he said.
Bond University has been placed in Pool B and will face Griffith University, the University of New England, the University of Canberra and the University of Sydney this weekend.
Bond University’s squad for Round 1 (Hobart) of the Aon 2018 Uni7s 2018 is:
Jessika Elliston (Captain)
Bond University Coach, Ben Gollings remains England’s highest capped Sevens players and captain, having represented his country in both Sevens and Fifteens for over a decade, and setting two world records for conversions in Sevens and being the highest points holder in Sevens history.
Gollings will be joined in Hobart by Assistant Coach Sean Hedger (Bond University’s Director of Rugby and Head Coach of its Premier Grade squad), Manager Christopher (Will) Cotterill and Physio Jessica Rowlands.
Now in its second year, the newly-expanded tournament will feature 10 universities from around Australia in a five-leg series. Bond is very proud to be hosting Round 4 at its Gold Coast campus on 6-7 October.
Bond University, University of Queensland, Griffith University, University of New England, Macquarie University, University of Canberra, Adelaide University and tournament newcomers the University of Melbourne and the University of Sydney.
2018 Aon University Sevens Series
Round 1 August 25-26, University of Tasmania, Hobart
Round 2 September 8-9, University of Canberra, Canberra
Round 3 September 22-23, University of Queensland, Brisbane
Round 4 October 6-7, Bond University, Gold Coast
Round 5 October 20-21, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide