THE University of Canberra women's rugby sevens team have selected 30 players for their training squad, including Ulladulla's Lily Murdoch and Cambewarra's Aroha Spillane, ahead of the Aon University Sevens Series, set to kick-off on September 14.
The squad is made up of some key returning players and a pool of new talent who will make their sevens debut in the upcoming series.
Sammie Wood will be back for her third season making her the most capped player having competed in all but one tournament since its inception, while Kobe Nona has swapped a singlet for a down jacket with a move to UC after two series with the University of Queensland.
New faces like 17-year-old high school students, Brooke Gilroy and Murdoch, join UC for the first time but not without any experience as Gilroy played in the Brumbies Super W in the 2019 season and Murdoch is coming off a stint with the junior national team squad.
"We've named a larger squad than previous years and each of these athletes have the ability to compete at the next level," UC sevens coach Liam McGrath said.
"We're really happy with the depth and I believe we have a good mix of established athletes with some younger, up and coming players which has created competition for positions internally."
"Members of the squad have three tournaments under their belts as we've participated in three Shute Shield Sevens tournaments in Sydney and I can see that they are starting to develop combinations and their own style of play."
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In addition, the squad will also be allocated two current national team players, still pending confirmation. Since 2017, the UC Sevens has seen national team players Sharni Williams, Yasmin Meakes, Cassie Stapes and American stalwart Abby Gustaitis all wear UC blue.
In line with the Rugby Australia and UniSport Australia competition player quotas, 10 athletes in the squad are UC students, one from the Australian National University in Canberra and another from Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga.
All bar one of the UC Sevens staff are also UC alumni or current students.
Joining the two Shoalhaven products in the squad are Georgia O'Niell, Michaela Leonard, Sammy Maxwell, Skye Churchill, Lillyann Mason-Spice, Claudia Obst, Rachel Crothers, Sammie Wood, Caitlin Turnbull, Alahna Ryan, Biola Dawa, Darcy Read, Brooke Gilroy, Jane Garraway, Remi Wilton, Ema Masi, Bree Toze, Kobe Nona, Katheryn Cudaj, Sepa Salesa, Erin Chant, Tash Salisbury, Sidonie Carrol, Bella Sheen, Ella Ryan, Ainsley Scriviner, Caitlin Quester and Grace Kemp.