In the footsteps of the Australian women’s Olympic Games gold medal-winning seven-a-side rugby union team in Rio de Janiero, officials are intent on introducing a sevens rugby competition on the Lower Mid North Coast this season.
Recently, 20 young women trained at the Forster-Tuncurry Dolphins’ Tuncurry headquarters at Peter Barclay Field, players who will form the nucleus of teams representing the Dolphins, Wallamba Bulls and Old Bar clubs.
At the instigation of Wallamba club’s head coach, Lee Sullivan, a willing hour and a half’s training session was run by New South Wales Rugby ‘s development officer, North Coast’s Tom Davidson, aided by Wauchope’s Paddy Bowen and Wallamba’s fitness coach, Mitch Wilson, a former NSW. Central West amateur welterweight boxing champion.
The hope of local rugby officials is that women from five clubs, Forster, Wallamba, Manning River, Old Bar and Gloucester, will take part in a competition in the hour prior to each Lower Mid North Coast first grade premiership game next season, starting early in April.
The training sessions will continue twice a week on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6pm, alternating between the Bulls’ and Dolphins’ grounds.
“It’s very encouraging,” coach Sullivan said. “At this stage the intention is to introduce basic skills to the girls in handling and tackling, generally promoting the rugby game, opening up opportunities for them.”
The Wallamba Bulls plan the first gala day of women’s rugby at their Nabiac ground on Saturday, December 16.