Super Rugby


Brisbane's golden Olympic parade - how QRU’s QAS Women’s Sevens Academy is developing future Olympians

Queensland Rugby Union’s (QRU) QAS Women’s Sevens Academy has been fundamental in assisting the Australian Women’s Rugby Sevens success and aims to continue to develop future Olympians. 

As four of the gold medal Women’s squad paraded through the centre of Brisbane today with fellow Olympic team mates and medal winners, attention turned to the programs that have developed Australia’s newest sporting heroes. 

10 Queenslanders in the Australian Women’s Sevens squad, six of these competing at Rio, are all QAS members. The two travelling reserves for the Olympic Games, Dominique Du Toit and Brooke Walker, as well as as Australian squad members Laura Waldie, Shenae Ciesiolka and Georgie Friedrichs have all graduated directly from the academy. 

18 year old Demi Hayes is a member of the academy and secured her development contract with the Australian Women’s Sevens squad in December 2015. Hayes has already had the opportunity to represent Australia in the Women’s Sevens side playing in the Canadian leg of the HSBC Women’s World Sevens Series in April this year. 

“Playing in Canada was super nerve racking but so much fun.

“As I am so young and was playing at such a high level it was definitely one of the most challenging times in my Rugby career, I really had to put myself out there and shake the nerves away.

“But it was such a great experience and I loved it, plus getting to share it with such professional athletes was amazing,” Hayes said. 

Hayes said training with the academy is another challenge but it’s preparing her and everyone else for what to expect if you get the opportunity to train with the Australian Women’s Sevens squad. 

“Rugby Sevens training is quite challenging but it is helping prepare everyone really well. 

“We train like the Australian squad so four-five times a week. 

“This is definitely getting us a lot fitter and stronger,” Hayes said.

Hayes has already secured herself a gold medal after competing in the 2015 Youth Commonwealth Games. Queensland was heavily represented at these games with seven out of the 12 players products of QRU’s academy. The academy also had a significant number of squad members represent Australia at the Youth Olympic Games in 2014. 

Australian Rugby Union’s Pathway Services Manager, Dale Robinson said QRU’s academy has been fundamental in preparing girls for the Australian Sevens squad. 

“The QAS Women’s Sevens program does a great job preparing girls for the Australian Sevens squad. 

“The program prepares players for the physical demands of the game as well as preparing players core skills, Sevens understanding and decision making that is required to play at higher levels.

“I believe it is vital that Women’s players have the opportunity to be exposed to high level coaching and a training environment that prepares the players to be able to put their best foot forward for selection in national youth and senior development Sevens programs. 

“The QAS Women’s Sevens program has done this in the past and continues to provide this opportunity for players in the program,” Robinson said.

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