Farley rugby union product Mollie Gray will be one of many aspiring international female players to benefit from the reintroduction of the National Women’s Championships this year.
Wallaroos World Cup representative Gray, who signed a sevens contract with the Australian Rugby Union for this year, will have the chance to take part in the 15-a-side tournament in Sydney in June.
The two-day championship will be hosted at St Ignatius College, Riverview, from June 23 to 26 and gives female players across the country an ideal opportunity to impress for future Wallaroos and sevens selection.
Teams competing in the championship will be Australian Services Rugby Union, Sydney, NSW Country, Queensland, Australian Capital Territory, Western Australia, South Australia and Victoria.
Gray has previously played at the tournament with the Australian Services, which including 2013 when vying for a spot in the World Cup squad for France last year.
In addition, the ARU will host a Wallaroos training camp for an extended squad at Bond University in Augustst, starting preparation for the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup.
The revival of the National Women’s Championship comes on top of the introduction of the Junior Gold Cup Championships introduced in 2014, The National Under 20s Championships and the Senior Sevens and Youth Sevens National Championships.
All of these programs have been successfully implemented over the last 16 months.
The National Women’s Championship provide an additional development pathway for players and coaches to take their games to the next level.
With World Rugby Women’s World Series well underway for Olympic qualification, players will also have a unique opportunity to chase their selection dreams for the 2016 Rio Games.
ARU general manager pathways and performance Ben Whitaker said the tournament will provide excellent opportunities for players.
“Committing to a National Women’s XVs Championship in 2015 and 2016 will provide our women’s programs around Australia with the opportunity to grow player depth, representative competition exposure and increase our talent pool,” Whitaker said.
“Our Wallaroos performed admirably in last year’s Women’s Rugby World Cup and we are keen to advance the program to achieve greater results moving forward.
“Our elite pathway for female players will be enhanced with both the Sevens and XVs programs working together to create more elite female rugby players for Australia across both formats of the game.”
The Wallaroos finished the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup in seventh after beating Wales for the second time in the tournament.
Gray injured herself at the tournament but after undergoing surgery back in Australia has made a full recovery and has recently been in Darwin with the national women’s squad for a sevens competition.