COME next month, four of Bathurst’s finest rugby sevens talents will kit up for New South Wales and take on the best in Australia.
Two Bathurst students will feature on both the NSW girls and boys teams who will head to Western Australia for the Youth Girls and Boys Sevens National Championships.
Yool Yool and Hunter Ward, who both represent Saint Stanislaus’ College and Orange City in rugby union, are two of four country players selected in the 12-man squad.
All Saints’ College student Jakiya Whitfield and Mackillop College’s Teagan Miller are two of three rural players chosen to represent their state for the youth girls.
The players said they are excited about the challenge ahead of them and are stoked to represent both their state and rural NSW.
“You’ve got to put in some hard work when you live in the country because we’re not as lucky as people in the city who have more and better facilities,” Miller said.
“To be in the team requires time, travel and money. It’s also a faster game, meaning you have to be more fit and agile than 15-a-side.”
Both NSW teams will fly over to Perth next month as a group, without friends and family.
The Bathurst students believe that will be a really good experience.
“It should add to the team bonding and make the occasion feel more professional,” Miller said.
“It’s also a privilege to play for your state and we’re really stoked to play.”
McGillivray Oval in the Perth suburb of Mount Clermont will co-host the December 10-11 event alongside the University of Western Australia.
NSW will be looking to defend both the boys and girls titles it won in March this year – something the Bathurst talents are confident of being able to do.
“I think everyone has put in the commitment and if the team can click, we can come away with the win,” Miller said.
“All the teams will be strong and are looking to prove a point.
“It will come down to who has put in the most effort in training.”
State rivalry is also a motivator, with the quartet saying they want to put in a particularly good effort to beat their Queensland and ACT rivals.
The tournament will prove a good opportunity for Australian selectors to scout out potential feature prospects for the national side.
“It's a big step to show selectors what we’re made of,” Miller said.
Being selected to represent Australia and to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games are just some of the targets the players are aspiring for.
They had to travel to Coffs Harbour for the Country Championships earlier in the year.
Yool and Ward made the trip to Bowral for the final selection trial at town’s Eridge Park, earlier this month.
Australian Rugby Union general manager Ben Whitaker said the tournament will be excellent stepping-stone for competing players who are looking to further their sevens careers.
“In what will be a big year for both our men’s and women’s national sevens teams, we are excited to be able to build the pathway for our next generation of national squad players and Olympians,” Whitaker said.