The University of Adelaide Roma’s have had their first trials for the 2019 Aon Uni7s series as they traveled over to Perth, to face tournament newcomers, The University of Western Australia (UWA).
The Roma’s took across a squad of 12 players, 7 of whom were new to the jersey in 2019, who gained some valuable game time in the lead up to the remaining trials in August.
Former Roma’s assistant coach Dwayne Grace is leading the Western Australian side throughout the series and has done a fantastic job bringing his brand new team together. The team is littered with young talent that showed plenty of promise in phases throughout the weekend.
The series of 6 matches saw the Roma’s play two evenly mixed teams of day one of the trials. This was a great opportunity to blood some new talent into the starting 7 of each match and to form some future combinations between players.
Making their Roma’s debut were both development squad members Courtney Munroe and Claire Ferguson, alongside 2019 Uni7s squad players Alisha Butchers, Alex Foltyn, Alice Fry, Jazmine Joyce, Teliya Hetaraka and Hannah Jones.
After the games on Saturday the team quickly rushed to Optus Stadium to watch Uni of Adelaide Roma's own Mahalia Murphy and the Wallaroos take on the New Zealand Black Ferns, followed by the Wallabies historic performance against the All Blacks in front of a record sell out crowd. It also provided a good opportunity to catch up with Wallaroo Eva Karpani, who will be joining the squad after her Wallaroo’s commitments.
On Sunday the Roma’s encountered a vastly improved UWA side, which tested the Roma’s around the ruck space. UWA strung together a number of good phases and their young halves really stood up for the side.
According to Roma's Director and Head Coach James O'Keefe, scoring was not the focus rather than practicing and creating good passages of play to utilize in the future. “We didn’t keep score on the weekend, as winning wasn’t our focus. I think we got the rub of the green throughout all matches, but we wanted to promote our player creativity and allow them to freely express themselves on the field.”
“UWA will be competitive throughout the 2019 series, as they now know the level at which other teams are at. Under the guidance of Head Coach Dwayne Grace and with the inclusion of their Wallaroos and Aussie 7s allocations, they’ll do just fine”
The Roma’s now turn their focus to this weekend, where the squad of 27 will travel to the University of Melbourne to play in another series of trial matches.
“We are really looking forward to this weekend, we get to see plenty of new squad members pull on the jersey and 10 players from the 2018 Aon Uni7s season jump back on the field. We have an extremely competitive squad this year, with only 12 spots per Aon tour and there will be plenty of players that stick their hand up.”