7 September 2017: High-flying USA Eagles representative Abby Gustaitis will add international flavour to the University of Canberra when it runs out at the second tournament of the inaugural Aon Uni 7s Series this weekend.
Gustaitis is one of three changes to the side that finished sixth at the first tournament held in Launceston a fortnight ago.
The American import joins the University of Canberra after helping the Eagles to a fourth place finish at the Women’s Rugby World Cup in Ireland last month.
She arrived in Canberra last week and launched straight into training.
“I’ve really enjoyed training with the squad since arriving in Canberra and I can’t wait to run out this weekend,” Gustaitis said.
“The squad looks in great shape and we’re all ready for a big weekend in Sydney.”
Gustaitis fell into rugby almost accidentally in 2010 when she attended a training session with a friend while studying a degree in physiology and neurobiology at the University of Maryland.
She was playing basketball at the time but took a liking to rugby. The switch has paid off.
Gustaitis was identified as one of the best female college rugby players in America in 2013 and attended the AIG Women’s Collegiate All-American camp.
Two years later she was named in the USA 7s player pool and began training with the Eagles. She made her international debut against France in 2016.
She transitioned to the 15-a-side version of the game in the last 12 months and was selected for the World Cup.
Born and raised in Maryland, Gustaitis now lives in Washington DC and plays sevens for the Scion Sirens.She helped the club win the Club 7s Championship last year.
At 26 years of age, Gustaitis is one of the oldest members of the University of Canberra side and her leadership qualities will be called upon when she lines up alongside captain Ash Kara this weekend.
Coach David Grimmond said Gustaitis had made a seamless transition into the squad.
“We’re very happy to welcome Abby into the group,” Grimmond said. “She’s hit the ground running and has made a positive contribution on and off the field.
“She boasts international experience in both forms of the game and her leadership qualities will be important on the field this weekend.
“The younger squad members can learn a lot from her and we’re excited to see what she brings to our game.”
The University of Canberra will play pool games against Bond University, Macquarie University, and the University of Adelaide in the second leg of the Aon Uni 7s Series at Macquarie University in Sydney this weekend.
The tournament will be streamed live on rugby.com.au.
University of Canberra squad
Sarah Carter, Abby Gustaitis, Regan Hart, Ash Kara (C), Michaela Leonard, Ema Masi, Samantha Maxwell, Yasmin Meakes, Darcy Read, Cassandra Staples, Talei Wilson, Samantha Wood