2 August 2018: A host of international stars and a mix of new and familiar faces will take the field for the University of Canberra during the 2018 University Sevens Series.
Head coach David Grimmond has unveiled a 25-woman squad ahead of the competition kicking off later this month.
Australian representative Yasmin Meakes will pull on the University’s blue and white strip again after emerging as one of the breakout stars of 2017. Meakes was called into the Australian squad, where she remains, after impressing for the University.
American flyer Abby Gustaitis has also returned for a second stint in Canberra after helping the women’s USA 7s team to a fourth-place finish at the Rugby World Cup Sevens last month.
The squad will benefit from the addition of Canberra’s veteran Wallaroos star Louise Burrows. The 40-year-old played at her fourth World Cup last year and couldn’t resist the temptation of extending her career with a stint in the shortened version of the game.
Joining the trio is Ash Kara, who captained the University in the inaugural series last year, while a combination of new players and proven stars also feature in the squad.
“We’ve selected a squad that will challenge for honours,” Grimmond said. “Almost half the girls who played last year are back again and they’re stronger with that experience under their belts.
“There’s a lot of new talent in the mix, too, which has made us stronger and more versatile. We’ve gained players from a variety of other sports who have made the transition to sevens very smoothly.
“We had a lot of women interested in playing this year which shows how popular this form of the game is. It’s a great sign for rugby, but it did give us a few selection headaches.
“We’ve settled on a squad of 25 and are hard at work preparing for another tilt at the title.”
The University of Canberra will host the second round of the 2018 University Sevens Series on 8–9 September.
University of Canberra 2018 University Sevens Series squad:
Tania Afamasaga, Shelley Bradshaw, Kirra Burke, Louise Burrows, Bridgette Cunningham, Biola Dawa, Kasey Dragisic, Ngawai Eyles, Courtney Frankl, Jane Garraway, Abby Gustaitis, Regan Hart, Ash Kara, Michaela Leonard, Paremo March, Ema Masi, Yasmin Meakes, Kiara Meredith-Brown, Claudia Obst, Georgia O’Niell, Steph Pollard, Darcy Read, Tayla Stanford, Bree Toze, Sammie Wood