A Griffith University squad including students of education, business, design, criminal justice and public relations has been announced for the 2018 Aon Uni 7s Series.

This week’s announcement also sees the return of some familiar faces from the inaugural series last year with Katie Curtis (B. Business), Laura Waldie (B. Oral Health Dental Science), Ellen Field (B. Exercise Science) and Eliza Flynn (B. Sport Development) all returning to compete in the country’s premier women’s rugby sevens university competition.

The first round of the 2018 series will be hosted by the University of Tasmania from August 24-26 with Griffith looking to build on last year’s encouraging endeavours. They will be part of an expanded competition now incorporating 10 universities with five rounds of action — one more than 2017 — between August 24 and October 19.

“This means more opportunity to play which is very exciting,” Katie Curtis (left) says. “The extra round is another chance to get game time under the belt and gain experience which is so important.”

Katie, who impressed in the first season of the university sevens, encouraged teammates to be ready for some competitive outings. “It’s important to work hard, to do that one percent right in the gym work, in skill work, but also to enjoy it. It’s intense but training with your mates and travelling with your mates is a great experience.”

All competing teams will be enhanced by the forthcoming addition of two marquee players from the Australian Women’s Rugby 7s squad, with their identities to be revealed in the week prior to competition kick-off.

While each squad will also include a complement of club players, university teams competing at each tournament will be required to have at least 50% of its 12-strong game day playing group currently enrolled.

The Griffith team will again be under the guidance of leading Queensland coach Moana Virtue, while sport development students Teysha Deal and Lucy Turney will gain valuable experience managing the team off the field.

The Griffith squad has been developed in partnership with Griffith Uni Colleges Knights Rugby Club and Sunnybank Rugby Union Club. The high-quality set-up also sees the inclusion of Australian schoolgirls rugby sevens and Queensland State of Origin player Rhiannon Revell-Blair and emerging sevens and fifteens star Alysia Lefau-Fakaosilea.

The other universities in the contest will be Bond University, University of New England, University of Queensland, Macquarie University, University of Canberra, University of Adelaide, University of Tasmania, University of Sydney and University of Melbourne.

The five tournaments will be played across the weekends of Aug 24-26 (University of Tasmania), Sept 7-9 (University of Canberra), Sept 21-Sept 23 (University of Queensland), Oct 5-7 (Bond University) and Oct 19-21 (University of Adelaide).

Griffith University Squad:

Eliza Flynn (Sport Development), Kahli Henwood (Education), Ellen Field (Exercise Science), Laura Waldie (Oral Health Dental Science), Portia Bourke (Criminal Justice), Sophie Quirk (Exercise Science), Katie Curtis (Sport Management), Kiri Lingman (Public Relations & Communication), Anthea Moodie (Sport Management), Eloise Schlecht (Design);Rhiannon Revell-Blair, Alysia Lefau-Fakaosilea, Sophie Bell, Charlotte Kennington, Georgia Devlin, Alana Elisaia, Shannon Mato, Diaz Seumanutafa, Ivania Wong, Yolanda Gittins, Samantha Treherne, Kirby Sefo.