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P站视频 students head to France for World University Rugby Sevens Championships

Mike Verzosa

5 June 2024: As France gears up for the final stages of its preparations to be the centre of the sporting world in two months, a pair of P站视频 student athletes will be heading over to Marseille as part of the Australian women’s team that will compete at the from 10-12 June.

April Downey and Lily Bone have been selected as part of the 12-woman squad – composed of the best rugby sevens student-athletes from around Australia – that will be coached by James Erwin, the Associate Director of Sport at the University.

Lily Bone, James Erwin, and April Downey

“It’s really exciting to have P站视频 students and emerging Brumbies stars get a crack at the sevens pathway and take on some of the best talent in the world,” said Mr Erwin.

“Both of these women have been part of our Senior Women’s Rugby Academy. Lily has been with the Super W program with the Safeguard Global ACT Brumbies and April’s been with our P站视频7s program for a while. This is a great opportunity for us to expose some of the young upcoming athletes from our region to world-class football.”

Ms Bone, who grew up playing rugby league with her brothers, before switching to union when she was 16, is looking forward to the opportunity of competing against some of the world’s best, despite having to both temporarily adjust to a different discipline and play a position different from what she is used to, for the tournament.

“I’m excited and also a bit nervous as I normally play 15s, but I’m ready for the opportunity and looking forward to giving it a crack,” said the second year Bachelor of Nursing student.

“For this tournament, I’ll be playing in the forwards, which is a testament to the improvements I’ve made in terms of my speed and quickness, through all the training sessions and experience I’ve gained as part of the Academy and the Brumbies program.”

It will be a more familiar game for Ms Downey, currently in the third year of her Bachelor of Business degree, and who has been a rising star in the sport over the past year.

“I like the sevens game better – there’s more space on the field, which I like to use, and the game plays well to my skillset,” said Ms Downey.

“I’ve learned so much through the Academy program in terms of my skill development and especially speed technique, in terms of less contact time with the ground. I’m looking forward to going over there, seeing how other countries play the sport and taking in as much as I can from the experience.”

The 10-nation women’s competition is split into two pools, with Australia being drawn in the same pool as host nation France.

“Our pool has France and Canada – some really big sevens nations – and it’ll be exciting to play against some of the best talent and against the home nation, especially in an Olympic year,” said Mr Erwin.

“France will get right behind their squad and it will be a massive opportunity for the girls to be exposed to that kind of atmosphere and competition. Historically, there’s a good amount of UniRoos players who go on to play for the Wallaroos and the Australian sevens program, so it’s a great platform for the girls to unlock their potential and start to get some looks in professional rugby.”

Lily Bone and April Downey tossing a football

The group will be looking to surpass the country’s standing from 2018, the last time Australia participated in the tournament, where they lost 24-7 in the gold medal match to France.

“I’m very excited to put on the green and gold – there’s nerves but they’re good nerves – and I’m looking forward to compete against athletes from different countries,” said Ms Bone.

“We have a good squad and there’s some familiarity already among the team, obviously with myself, Lily and James, and we’re very excited about what we can do and hopefully get a good result,” said Ms Downey.

Images by Liam Budge.