New comp can unearth future sevens stars, says skipper Williams

Olympic Games champion Sharni Williams hopes the rise of the women's university sevens competition will help Australia stay at the top of the world rankings.

Williams and her University of Canberra teammates failed to fire in the last round of the competition's inaugural season as the University of Queensland swept their way to the title.

But the long-lasting effect and crucial experience will outweigh the disappointment of finishing fifth overall, according to Australian skipper Williams.

Canberra's Yasmin Meakes was a standout and is being tipped to earn future representative honours after starring over the four legs of the season.

Williams led Australia to a historic Olympic gold medal at Rio last year and hopes the competition exposed players to a higher level of play to help the transition to international sevens.

"We got to see what players were capable of doing," Williams said.

"We don't play a lot of footy where we can go and watch other plays. There needs to be a pathway for young girls to get involved, because the more you play, the better you get.

"I thought the standard was pretty good and got better and better as the tournament went on."

Canberra won just one of three matches on Friday, beating the University of New England 17-5 before falling to the University of Tasmania 19-5 and University of Queensland 12-5.

That left them fighting for the minor places in the finals on Saturday, losing to the University of Adelaide 26-22 and then finishing with a loss against New England 24-15.

It was a disappointing way to end the tournament and left Canberra in fifth spot on the overall points rankings after four events around Australia.

The Canberra side tested new players into rugby sevens and Williams believes they will be better placed to make a charge in the second season.

Williams will now rejoin the Australian sevens squad for training after playing for the Australian Wallaroos at the women's World Cup in Ireland.

"It is disappointing because I thought we played some really good footy, losing to Tasmania on Friday really cost us," Williams said.

"Sevens goes that way - if you lose a game it's hard to get back. I was very, very impressed with the way the girls held themselves together.

"We made a lot of improvements in a short space of time ... I really, really enjoyed my time and I hoped I could pass on some knowledge."

AUSTRALIAN UNIVERSITY SEVENS

Friday: University of Canberra 15 bt University of England 5, University of Tasmania 19 bt University of Canberra 5, University of Queensland 12 bt University of Canberra 5.

Saturday: University of Adelaide 26 bt University of Canberra 22, University of New England 24 bt University of Canberra 15.

This story New comp can unearth future sevens stars, says skipper Williams first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.