NARRAWALLEE’S Grace Sullivan has played a starring role in guiding the NSW Country side to the final of the inaugural Schoolgirls Invitational Rugby Tournament.
Held at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra, Sullivan’s side took on seven other teams – ACT City, ACT Provincial, Sydney West, Melbourne Rebels, South Australia, Tasmania and Western Force – during the two-day tournament, before facing off with the Force in the decider.
“I was selected in the NSW Country side following the Country Championships tournament at the Central Coast, where they selected the top 24 girls as part of the squad,” Sullivan said.
“The tournament went for two days – we played three games on the Saturday and we won all of our games, seeing us finish on top in our pool, heading into finals day on Sunday.”
In the grand final, Sullivan’s NSW Country side led in the dying moments of the highly entertaining match, only for the Force to score late in the piece, to win 14-10 and claim the title of top schoolgirls team in the country.
“The grand final wasn’t the result we were looking for but I’m still very proud and happy with how the team played. We put everything we had into the final and it was great – it was a tough game,” she said.
“It is still a massive achievement to come second, as we were the youngest team in the competition and that was the first time any of us had played together as a team.”
Following this strong showing, the Ulladulla High School student was named in the 2018 ACT Schoolgirls Team.
“I was surprised and very happy and excited to be named in the team,” she said.
“It’s going to be a great experience to play with the girls – I can’t wait.”
As part of this squad, Sullivan attended an induction/training session at ACT Brumbies headquarters on July 8, which is now followed by twice a week training (Wednesday and Sunday) in Canberra.
On top of that, there is a possible match against the Melbourne Rebels being lined up for Sunday, July 29, before Sullivan and her team battle the NSW CHS Schoolgirls on Thursday, August 9.
“I’m very excited and can’t wait – it’s going to be a great experience,” she said.
“I’m sure I will learn plenty of new things that will be able to help me to become a better player in the future.
“I’m just happy to take every opportunity that comes my way, as it is great way to develop my own skills and play with a new team and different players.”
Sullivan will be joined in this squad, coached by Tevita Siulangapo, by Ainsley Scrivener (St Clare’s College), Amelia Harris (Kooringai High), Biola Dawa (Riverina Anglican College), Brooke Gilroy (Daramalan College), Caitlin Quester (St Francis Xavier College), Caroline Tai (Merici College), Chioma Enyi (Lake Ginninderra College), Clare Harpley (Mater Dei College), Ella Ryan (St Clare’s College), Eleni Ives (St Peters Anglican College) Grace Kemp (Canberra Girls College), Holly Christison (Bega High), Isabella Kiely (Eden Marine High), Ivy Tupai (Lake Ginninderra College), Jane Morrison (Lake Ginninderra College), Jasmine Viekune (Erindale College), Kirra Burke (Jindabyne Central), Mary Sione (Melba Copland College), Rhianna Burke (Jindabyne Central) Rhylee Lemon (West Wyadlon High), Sophia Kirkby (Wagga High), Taniesha Roberts (Batemans Bay High) and Zoe Kershaw (Erindale College).
The six development players for the squad are Bella White, Charlotte Foster, Isabella Kirkby, Janiah Vaana, Molly Carr and Sisilia Ragatu.