Australia's premier development pathway for Women's Sevens will take a new, more competitive format in 2021, with teams playing in regional tournaments ahead of a final's series.
Four regional rounds played out in both Queensland, and New South Wales across March and April will see the nine teams vie for six qualification places in May's two final National tournaments.
The first rounds of the 2021 Aon University Sevens Series will occur in March at Easts Rugby Club in Brisbane and Woollahra Oval in Sydney.
The Sydney leg will be played alongside the Women's Rugby's Festival, seeing the tournament integrated with the Eastern Suburbs juniors.
The competition will then move to Surfers Paradise Rugby Club and Newcastle Rugby Club in April, where teams will look to secure their place in the National finals.
Pool A (Queensland) will comprise reigning champions, The University of Queensland alongside Bond University, Griffith University, the University of Adelaide, and Melbourne University.
While Pool B (NSW) will include the University of Sydney, the University of Canberra, the University of Technology, Sydney, newcomers to the competition, the University of Newcastle will also replace the University of New England.
The University of Western Australia has also withdrawn from the competition due to COVID-19 travel restrictions in the state of Western Australia.
Australian Sevens Performance Manager Scott Bowen said: "Our Aon tournament is one of our premier products and essential to ensuring the success of our programs long term.
"The 2021 format is crucial as ever, not only to give our National squad members game time but also to see the next generation of players as we keep an eye on the 2022 Commonwealth Games and the 2024 Paris Olympics.
"Our Women's program is filled with players who have been selected from the Aon Series in the past; we hope this will again be the case in 2021 and beyond," Bowen said.
Aon's Chief Executive Officer, James Baum, said Aon is proud to continue its relationship with Rugby Australia in supporting the next generation's development into elite athletes through the Aon University 7s Series.
"After a tumultuous year, we are very excited to see the competition return in 2021. The Aon University 7s Series is part of our ongoing commitment to support diversity and inclusion both on and off the rugby field and provide pathway opportunities for both women and younger girls to develop and nurture their passion for rugby and learn valuable life skills. We wish all of the athletes and teams a successful competition."
2021 Aon University Sevens Series Participating Universities:
Pool A: The University of Queensland alongside Bond University, Griffith University, the University of Adelaide and Melbourne University.
Pool B: University of Sydney, the University of Canberra, the University of Technology Sydney and the University of Newcastle.
2021 Aon University Sevens Series Draw:
Regional Round One: 27-28 March
Pool A: Easts Rugby Club, Brisbane
Pool B: Woollahra Oval, Sydney
Regional Round Two: 10-11 April
Pool A: Surfers Paradise Rugby Club, Surfers Paradise
Pool B: No. 2 Sports Ground, Newcastle
National Round One: 1-2 May
New South Wales
National Round Two: 15-16 May