The Aon University Sevens Series will expand to a ten-team competition in 2018 following on from the success of the inaugural year of the tournament with the announcement that the University of Melbourne and the University of Sydney will join this year’s competition.
Sydney and Melbourne will be joining the established pack of Bond University, Griffith University, University of New England, Macquarie University, University of Canberra, University of Adelaide, University of Tasmania and 2017 Champions the University of Queensland.
Rugby Australia General Manager High Performance, Ben Whitaker said: “After such a successful inaugural year of the Aon Uni Sevens Series we saw an immediate opportunity to expand the competition and have two very strong new additions in the University of Sydney and University of Melbourne for 2018.
“The outcome is that we will have a stronger competition with more opportunities for players to compete across the ten teams, which has benefits for the competition as well as for our national women’s Sevens program.
“With the inclusion of Melbourne there is now an Aon University Sevens presence in Brisbane, Gold Coast, regional Queensland, Sydney, regional NSW, Canberra, Melbourne, Tasmania and Adelaide.”
Additionally, the University of Western Australia has been confirmed as the third new University to join the series in 2019.
“We were really impressed with the University of Western Australia’s bid, and in line with our medium-to-long-term strategy we have confirmed their admission in 2019,” Ben Whitaker said.
“We will work closely with UWA and RugbyWA to ensure they are set up for success in 2019 and beyond. UWA’s inclusion ensures the Aon University Sevens Series is a truly national competition.”
UniSport Australia CEO Don Knapp welcomed the announcement of the two latest universities to join the Aon Women’s University Sevens Series.
“The inaugural year of the Series confirmed there is significant appetite for national league university competitions,” Mr Knapp said.
“The Series is part of a nationwide focus on creating elite sporting pathways for female student-athletes.
“Welcoming The University of Sydney and The University of Melbourne to the Series not only increases the competition and stakes on offer, but enables even more student-athletes to align their dual career education and sport pathways.
"This collaborative initiative between UniSport Australia, competing universities, and Rugby Australia provides elite student-athletes with an unprecedented pathway to the Olympic and Commonwealth Games podia, while at the same time preparing them for a career beyond sport.”
The Aon University Sevens Series will kick off later in the year with the 2018 draw to be confirmed in the coming weeks.