A NUMBER of the South Coast’s top athletes have been named in the NSW Sevens representative squads for the upcoming National Championships in November/December.
Shoalhaven product and current Australian rugby sevens star Tom Connor has been named in the open men’s squad, along with Port Kembla Blacks rugby league convert Jale Seninwanawa – which will be coached by Marshall Milroy.
Milton-Ulladulla Bulldogs WLT and Pride Sevens speedster Lauren Murty has been selected in the 32-person open women’s squad.
Shoalhaven juniors Ruari Von Prott (Nowra Hill) and Tessa Good (Kangaroo Valley) have been rewarded for their strong seasons on the field, being named in the NSW youth (under 17s) girls squad – coached by James Barkell.
Major tournaments in the last month, including the NSW State Championships (youth and senior and the Central Coast Sevens, have helped determine the four squads, which will compete in the senior and youth National Championships next month.
“These are the first selected squads for the 2017 National Championships for youth and senior age groups,” NSW Rugby coach education and pathways manager Matt Evrard said.
“These teams have been selected from a number of identified selection tournaments all around the state, with the Central Coast being the last one.
“Over the coming weeks, these squad will prepare to win as many national titles as possible across the different divisions but more importantly, get as many players identified for Youth Commonwealth Games and national senior team selection.
“We had several players graduate into the men’s national side in the World Series off the back of the 2016 youth and senior tournaments.”
Connor is one of those players who have come through the pathway, along with Tim Anstee, James Armstrong, Simon Kennewell, Michael Adams, Boyd Killingworth, Katie Harrison, Maddie Elliot, Darcy Morrison and Paige McGregor.
The squads will be reduced to 12 players ahead of the Senior National Championships in Bendigo, Victoria (November 25-26) and the Youth National Championships in Ballymore, Brisbane (December 9-10).
In 2016, the senior men were the plate runners-up, the women were the cup runners-up and the youth girls were the runners-up.
NSW open men’s squad: Allan Tuigamala, Blake, Rixon, Daniel Martine, Dimitry Chipizbov, Harry Leddy, Hunter Ward, Jack Pennington, Jack Cohen, Jale Seninwanawa, Jaline Graham, Josh Petero, Kepu Lokotui, Kiwi Kapene-Belcher, Matt Stead, Matt Teki, Ofa Siale, Sam Fogarty and Tom Connor.
NSW open women’s squad: Emily Chancellor, Arabella McKenize, Hannah Southwell, Sarah Halverson, Britney, Vanderhart, Donnay Van Taak, Claudia Bell, Iliseva Baitbage, Olivia White, Grace Hamilton, Kennedy Cherrington, Page McGregor, Mel Howard, Cheech Baker, Lauren Murty, Tiarne Cavanagh, Layne Morgan, Bo Vetty-Welsh, Katie Harrison, Brydie Parker, Darice Morrison, Rhiannon Byers, Olivia Brooks, Jess Sergis, Michaela Emblem, Tamyka Laws, Jade Huggins, Mahalia Murphy, Taliah Fuimaono, Nicole Beck, Emma Tonegato and Chloe Dalton, with Nita Maynard and Raecene McGregor unavailable for selection.
NSW youth (under 17s) girls squad: Katalina Amosa, Maddie Ashby, Tatum Bird, Emma Bradford, Sophie Buller, Nat Crow, Maddie Curtin, Keeley Davis, Quincy Dodd, Pihuka Duff, Tegan Dymock, Kiarna Dymock, Shekinah Edwards, Rach Fear, Tess Good,, Tia Hinds, Jorja Holden, Abby Rose Holmes, Jessika Lealaiauloto, Jonell Lemusu, Lillyann Mason-Spice, Phoebe McLoughlin, Kaea Murphy, Faith Nathan, Miah O’Sullivan, Sariah Paki, Ana Tohi-Hiku, Leanne Toomaltai, Litiana Tuifia, Ruari Von Prott, Maddie Weatherall, Jakiya Whitfeld and Jemima Wrigley.