Talented pair make national debut

TWO Sutherland Shire residents have been selected in the Australian Women Sevens rugby team.

Kate Mullaly and Maddi Elliott will play against international teams in 16 games that lead up to the 2013 World Cup final held in Moscow, Russia.

The first set of games was played in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on December 3.

Four games were played over two days, and after making it to the semi-finals, the Australian side lost three players to injuries, among them the captain.

The Australians finished fourth after a 17-5 loss to Spain.

"We had a few injuries, our captain was injured and there were a few other girls down, so Spain was coming back to beat us, which was a bit unlucky," Elliott said.

The team played against sides from Canada, New Zealand, France, Netherlands and the US.

"The games were really tough," Elliot said.

"It was my first time playing in an international tournament.

"The stadium had about 50,000 spectators and it was a really amazing experience."

Women Sevens coach Chris Lane said: "We were able to give the new girls a good run, which is a massive positive for us".

Elliott and Mullaly were invited to take part in the Women Sevens side after being noticed playing Oztag.

Both women have only been playing rugby for about five months but have played Oztag since childhood.

Rugby Sevens will be introduced in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

"It's an awesome opportunity, something to really strive for and stick to for the next three years," Mullaly said.

"Since [Rugby Sevens] was named an Olympic sport, they're trying to recruit a whole heap of girls and Chris Lane rang me and asked if I'd be interested," Elliott said.

"Now we'll be training and before each game they select the team.

"It would be great to be selected again."

The selection process takes place after a three-day training camp, a few weeks before the international games.

"The training is intense over three days; it takes it out of you," Mullaly said.

The next tour will be in February in Houston, Texas.

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