It was their favoured wet weather rugby that saw the Australian Services Rugby Union Women’s team hit the ground running with a win in their first game of the Australian Rugby Union 7s competition played in Sydney on 7-8 March.
Against a determined Western Australian side, a fresh 11 Australian Services players came away with a decisive 17-0 win.
A complete change in atmosphere with the temperature soaring and on the field with an injury to Craftsman Sheena Sidin impacting the team, the Defence team entered the second game a little unsettled. Despite this the team pulled itself together after half time, but the ACT opposition lead was too strong to overcome and ACT secured the victory 17-7.
The Defence team's leadership group regathered the troops, and with a key player sidelined taking the teams numbers down to 10, and the ladies came out firing and through a whole team effort finished on top downing Victoria 19-10.
“The girls really pulled it together after the second game against ACT. We spoke about what we wanted out of the competition and all adopted the 'nothing to lose' attitude.
“We recovered well to beat Victoria and to finish the day with two wins and one loss. It was a massive team effort by the girls and bettered previous years,” Vice Captain Leading Seaman Kerryn Seaborn said.
A new day dawned and with a number of players carrying injuries from the day before, the team struggled with substitutions in the quarter final berth against NSW White. However, it proved to be the game of the tournament with the Defence ladies crossing the line first and again in the dying seconds of the game. A successful conversion to Team Captain, Corporal Lucy Lockhart, tied the game 12 all, in what was a nail biting finish. The Defence team came away with the win as they scored the first try.
“We all dug so deep for the game against NSW White. We left absolutely everything we had on the field, it was such an amazing team effort and I am so proud of our achievements,” Able Seaman Vika Pinomi said.
In the semi-final the side battled it out against eventual winners NSW Blue. With no uninjured substitutions available the team held on as long as they could, but in the second half the eventual champions ran away with the win with a result of 36-0.
A similar situation befell the team in the 3rd vs 4th playoff. A strong ACT team, with significant depth in their bench, won the game, 31-0. After an intensive two days of rugby 7s the Defence team made the history books with their most successful competition results to date.
The achievement of 4th place out of 12 full strength state teams is an excellent outcome especially for a team that only comes together to train for intensive short periods before competitions. One could ask just what could be achieved if all selected players could be released to represent the Australian Defence Force in national and international competitions such as this. The team is now the 4th best Australian Rugby Union 7s team in Australia.
Imagery is available on the Australian Defence Image Library at http://images.defence.gov.au/S20150567.