Two UniSA students will be travelling to Namibia, Africa, in July to compete in the World University Rugby 7s tournament for Australia.
Lauren Kildare and Alice Gregory will both compete for the Uniroos, after only taking up Rugby 7s less than a year ago.
Both students have a background in touch football, having played for South Australia and for the Alliance Women’s Elite 8 touch side.
That team is made up of players from South Australia, Western Australia, Victoria, the Northern Territory and Tasmania and is the last step before Australian selection.
However, a surprising opportunity to get involved in Rugby 7s meant both Occupational Therapy student Kildare and Exercise Physiology Honours student Gregory were able to strive for even higher honours.
After being scouted from their touch team, both players went to the Adelaide Uni Roma’s Women’s 7s squad trials last year and tried the sport for the first time.
They haven’t looked back since.
“I absolutely fell in love with it and have been playing ever since,” Kildare said.
Kildare and Gregory were selected in the team and competed around Australia in the AON National University 7s Series last year.
Once the tournament finished, Gregory was invited to an Australian camp in Bendigo where they took on New Zealand, while Kildare represented South Australia at the Australian’s National 7s tournament.
This all led up to being invited to an Australian 7s development camp where they trained alongside the national squad in Sydney and played warm-up matches against Japan and Wales.
It was after the camp that both Kildare and Gregory were notified of their selection in the Uniroos team.
“It's been a whirlwind past year,” Gregory said.
Kildare cannot wait to head to Namibia and compete for the Uniroos.
“I am really excited to be travelling to Namibia, it will be the first time I have travelled overseas to play Rugby 7s and I’ve also always wanted to go to Africa, so I’m over the moon,” Kildare said.
“Having the opportunity to represent my country is a privilege and an honour, it means the world to me.
“To be able to do it playing the sport I love, with a great bunch of girls, just tops it off.”
Gregory said it was a dream come true.
“I feel incredibly honoured to be able to pull on the green and gold and compete for my country on the world stage,” Gregory said.
“I think it’s something we all dream of doing as a kid, so it feels pretty surreal.”
Kildare is going to use the tournament to continue learning and developing as a player.
“I’m still quite new to the sport with barely 10 months under my belt, so I really want to make the most of the experience,” Kildare said.
“It is really exciting to play with a group of girls I’ve never played with before, the majority of who have a wealth of knowledge and experience playing Rugby 7s.”
Gregory is looking forward to the challenge of competing against the world’s best.
“I’m extremely excited to be competing at this level and I’m eager for the challenge,” Gregory said.
“Experiencing another culture as well as some great Rugby 7s are both some expected highlights.”
Both Kildare and Gregory received an Amateur Athlete Grant from UniSA Sport to assist with their travels to Namibia and were grateful for the support.
UniSA Sport wishes Lauren and Alice all the best as they represent the Uniroos next month.