THE New South Wales youth girls squad for the upcoming 2018 National Youth Rugby Sevens Championships in Brisbane has been announced and it features Cambewarra’s Aroha Spillane.
The playing group will be divided into two squads of 12 and will represent NSW I and NSW II at the competition.
Coach Kieran Smith said major tournaments in the last few months, including the University 7s Series as well as school and club tournaments, have helped determine the final squad.
“The selection process culminated with the State Championships in Forster a couple of weeks ago,” Smith said.
“From there, we selected a wider training squad of 45 which was then reduced to 30 after we held trials last weekend.”
Smith spoke of the difficulties of choosing a team of just 24 given the level of talent and depth on display.
“We now have a big emphasis on growing and developing girls in that 16, 17-year-old age bracket, and state clubs are now working hard to increase the skill of all their players, so it’s becoming quite hard to separate them,” he said.
“The big difference we’re seeing now is the growth in the number of football players coming through rather than just athletes.
“Instead of bringing in young female athletes and turning them into footballers, we now have a huge talent pool to work with which is really positive for the future of rugby sevens.”
At the Championships, which will run from Thursday, December 6 to Sunday, December 9 at Ballymore Stadium, Spillane will be joined by fellow Illawarriors Viena Tinao, Lily Murdoch and Stella Casey.
NSW girls squad: Tylah Amiatu, Katalina Amosa, Jamie Chapman, Janalee Conroy, Piper Duck, Tegan Dymock, Gardinia Faalogo, Hayley Hifo, Tia Hinds, Zali Hopkins, Phoebe Mcloughlin, Lily Murdoch, Miah O’Sullivan, Faliki Pohiva, Aroha Spillane Mareva Swann, Jada Taylor, Brienna Terita, Bienna Terita, Viena Tinao, Cassey Tohi-Hiku, Litiana Tuifua, Bronti Westaway, Jakiya Whitfield and Louisa Yarranamua – with Stella Casey Miah Enright Kiara Hawkins, Eboney Prior, April Smith, Grace Tokabobo, Leanne Toomalati and Summer Witt in the extended playing group.