AU Sport News

Roma's Surprised Success

Posted By Sports Development Officer on 31/10/2017

The University of Adelaide Roma’s claim 5th in Inaugural National Tournament.

A team pulled together in a short period of time, with athletes from many different sporting backgrounds and very limited rugby sevens knowledge have pulled together a commendable overall series placing of 5th, falling behind the major players in the Australian Rugby Landscape of Queensland (University of Queensland, Griffith University, Bond University) and New South Wales (Macquarie University). A standard of competition that was littered with Rio Olympic Gold Medallists and countless international marquee signings set the scene for all of the eight participating universities.

The 2017 program was set a strong foundation from support from; The University of Adelaide, Adelaide University Sport, and Rugby Australia (formally known as Australian Rugby Union), SA Government alongside strong sponsorship partners; Adelaide MRI, Fusion Capital and numerous of generous donations. All players within the ‘top 24’ were introduced to a completely free high performance program, where many of them started to see the benefit of a strongly supported program.

Round 1 – University of Tasmania Stadium, Launceston

Placing: 7th

The first round of the Aon Series was much of an unknown for all of the teams competing. It was very evident from the onset that the tournament standards were much higher than anticipated. The Roma’s, easily the most inexperienced side proved to be competitive on regular occasions, but lacking continued focus for the duration of the matches. There were many positives drawn from the first leg of the series, Alice Gregory (touch football) and Eva Karpani (Rugby Union XV’s) showed their athletic ability which immediately caught the eyes of the Australian 7s staff and Australian Community.

The realisation that the competition had hit a standard sub-par to an international level dawned on many staff of the competition and universities, which saw excitement spread across the competition to see the development of the next generation of Olympians.
The University of Adelaide Roma’s secured 7th place in their first outing after accounting for University of Tasmania in the final match.

Round 2 – Macquarie University, Sydney

Placing: 5th

The second round of the series provided a very different level of competition, with all teams undertaking specific analysis of their counterparts and lining up the key players within each of the teams.
This tournament proved to be the strongest for the Roma’s after securing the elusive win on day 1 of competition, and following up with two solid wins on day two of the competition.
The three game winning streak resulted in a 5th placing.

Round 3 – University of Queensland, Brisbane

Placing: 6th

Moving up the eastern coast to Queensland proved to provide a different playing environment again, with temperature soaring and making the games more taxing on the individual. Once again the Roma’s were provided with opportunity to cause upsets by putting together some great plays, but unfortunately momentary lapses saw us concede a number of tries. Plenty of positives were draw from this tournament, as the team started to put together a number of performances that resulted in trained team workings and they were looking more threatening with the ball at every touch.

Elizabeth Sevens – Elizabeth, South Australia

Placing: 1st

The Roma’s looked to participate in the 60th Annual Elizabeth Sevens Competition, which is run and administered by Rugby Union SA. This competition provided a good opportunity for the squad to get some much needed game time, whilst providing others an opportunity to push for UNI 7s selection. The competition experienced significant growth in 2017 with the Women’s team numbers almost doubling. The Roma’s made it through the tournament undefeated and faced off against local Club Burnside in the Gold Medal Match. The Roma’s were dealt two early blows Burnside scoring early with two tries to a fellow squad member, but superior skills and fitness prevailed and the Roma’s squad ran out a comfortable win.

Round 4 – Bond University, Gold Coast

Placing: 6th

The Final 2017 Aon Tournament was met with many mixed emotions of excitement and sadness throughout the squad. As the Series was drawing to a close with each passing game, the pressure to perform mounted and secure a reputable finish on the overall tournament standings. The University of Adelaide drew a very strong pool (as a result of Round 3 standings) and faced off against the toughest opposition draw yet. This round provided the most exciting game to date, with the Roma’s taking on the University of Canberra in a match where the lead was swapped around several times, following try after try. The Roma’s were victorious in their semi-final match up and progressed to a 5th and 6th playoff, where they were secured their position on the overall table.

Goldfield Sevens, Bendigo

Placing: 2nd & 4th

The Goldfield Sevens, an annual tournament run by the Melbourne Rebels and Victorian Rugby Union provided an opportunity for the whole squad to come together and experience a more relaxed tournament setting, whilst giving the opportunity to watch the Australian Womens 7s team take on the current world series champions the New Zealand Women’s 7s Team in a series of matches.
The Roma’s Squad was divided into two (Black and White) Teams who contested the same pool, which resulted in an internal contest. Unfortunately the Black side went down in the final against an abrasive Melbourne Fiji side and the White side proved their strength by finishing one point shy of the Melbourne state team.

As the Program for 2017 draws to a close, there has been many positives which the University integrated program has supplied, such as;
- The ability to play and train with Rio Olympic Gold Medallists.
- To partake in a fully funded high performance program.
- A clear and achievable pathway to Australian Rugby 7s representation, with two squad members, completely new to rugby selected to partake in games against New Zealand and further development camps.
- Another professional sporting pathway that compliments existing pathways across the South Australia landscape.
- The promotion of female sporting talent and the transfer of skills across many sports disciplines to all focus on a common goal.
- Players being further developed for their other sporting aspirations, such as Touch Football, AFL and other codes.

The 2018 program will commence in early 2018, with the expansion of a local competition to foster and develop talent both on and off the field.