ARU hopes Sevens gold will inspire next generation
Aug 15, 2016 | News | by Learning Press staff
The Australian Rugby Union will launch a new Women’s Sevens national university competition inspired by the nation’s historic victory in the Olympics women’s competition this week.
It is hoped the Australian victory over arch rivals New Zealand to claim the first ever Women’s Sevens gold medal will spur an influx of female players into the game.
ARU CEO Bill Pulver said: “Our Australian Women’s Sevens team became heroes for thousands of young girls and boys across the nation who will dream of growing up and playing rugby in the Olympics, just like them.
“When we centralised our national women’s and men’s programs and made them full-time athletes, we made an investment in their future and have subsequently seen them blossom as players and as role models.
“On the back of their success, we will open up new Sevens pathways in schools, clubs and universities around the country so that more young girls and boys than ever before will have the chance to work towards their dream of representing their country at the Olympic Games.”
The high-performance women’s university Sevens series will be launched in 2017.
Teams will be comprised of university students alongside marquee players expected to be drafted from the Australian Sevens squads and existing state-based development squads.
Participation in women’s Sevens is already growing rapidly worldwide, increasing by 33% in Australia last year.
Girls’ sevens programs are also being piloted for high school students in the rugby heartlands of QLD and NSW, with other states to follow.
And primary schools can sign staff and students up for ‘Game On’ - a five-week national program teaching the basics of rugby in a non-contact format which last year introduced 22,000 students across Australia to rugby, half of them female.
“Sevens demands unique levels of skill, speed, physicality, fitness and mental tenacity, which cannot be achieved without incredible hard work and dedication,” said Pulver.
“Our Sevens players are fantastic role models and ambassadors for our country, and as a nation, we couldn't be prouder."