The Northern Territory has entered teams in all four divisions of the inaugural National Rugby 7s Championships in Sydney over the next two weekends.
The Australian Rugby Union has invited State/Territory representative team(s) and the Australian Services, Australian University and National Indigenous teams to attend the Championships.
There are Open Men, Women, Youth Boys and Youth Girls Competitions to be held at the Sydney Academy of Sport which is home to the Australian Men’s and Women’s Sevens teams at Narrabeen on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.
With Rugby 7s now an Olympic Sport there will be a strong focus on talent identification.
National Director of Australian Sevens and Qantas Australian Men’s Sevens Head Coach Geraint John: "I am looking out for players who show a great enthusiasm for the game, with a great attitude and character both on and off the field plus very good skills.
“I also want to know if players want to play for the national side and have the drive and commitment that it takes to become an international player and Olympian - this means training every day and taking sacrifices - living the life of a High Performance Athlete.”
Mosquitoes Coach Peter McGrath has made one change to the line-up that has been training since before Christmas and won the Buff Competition at last month’s Hottest 7s in the World at Marrara.
Wily veteran Luke Cummins returns to the side replacing Maleli Motonicocona in side.
Motonicocona is one of the most promising local juniors to emerge in the last decade and will be a key figure in the Youth Boys line-up.
The nucleus of the Mozzie side hail from Casuarina and played together to win the Bowl at the Singapore 7s in November.
The Mozzies Pool includes Western Australia, NSW Blue and QLD White in the twelve team competition.
Swampdogs dominate representation with five players in the Youth Boys team on the back of victory in the Under 18 Competition at the Hottest 7s.
The Youth Boys Competition will be played with two Pools of Five teams with the Northern Territory drawn to play NSW Blue, Qld White, South Australia and ACT in the Round Robin phase.
The NTRU have been granted an extension in naming the Women’s squad pending the result of tomorrow AFL NT Semi Final between Wanderers and Waratahs.
Jaylene Chevalier, Danielle Smith, Sophie Armistead and Elle Hardwick are all likely selections for the Goannas and will all line-up for the Eagles their sudden death encounter.
Victory and progress to the Preliminary Final will see them unavailable for the Rugby Nationals.
The Youth Girls team was dealt a blow during the week with Katherine based Captain Mateeka Neilson breaking her arm at school.
Kimika Lee- Pollard comes into the side with Brielle Felton elevated to the captaincy.
Qantas Australian Women’s Sevens Head Coach Tim Walsh will be at the Championships and said “The national Women’s Sevens program are on the lookout for players with a ruthless competitive instinct who just loves playing Rugby Sevens."
The NT Rugby Union are delighted to have at least seven regional based players selected to represent the Territory.
Joel Plummer is a three time Best & Fairest in Central Australia while Jesse Hockney joins the Youth Boys from the Red Centre.
Katherine boast four players in the Youth Girls side and Stevie Kelly should be named in the Goanna’s team on Monday.
NT Mosquitoes; N Lamb (c ) Z Phillips, C Nurse, G Tobin, D Tobin, R Oakley, N Satala, S Salaa, D Shepherd, L Cummins, J Plummer, G Norman, P McGrath (Coach) S Moran (Manager).
NT Youth Boys: J Byrnes (c ) A Shirley, M Motonicocona, R Morcom, C Court, H Edwards Jnr, J Fitzgerald, J Norris, T Shepherd, K Baird, N Stringer, J Hockney H Edwards Snr (Coach) J Chevalier (Manager)
NT Youth Girls; B Felton (c ), J Ruparanganda, T Garling, S Barba, T Hazel, D Bates, K Blake, E McCoombes, J Dela Coeur, H Pomare-Dawson. H Kiara-Glass, K Lee-Pollard D Tyson (Coach) J Chevalier (Manager).
NT Gonnas; To be announced Monday 23 Feb.
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of NT Rugby.