The Aon University Sevens Series will expand to five rounds in 2018 with the tournament set to kick off in August and conclude in October as it enters its second year.
The expanded draw comes on the back of the announcement that the University of Melbourne and the University of Sydney have joined the series, making it a 10-team Championship in 2018.
Fans will be able to follow all the action LIVE and exclusive via RUGBY.com.au, which will broadcast every match across the series.
The Aon University Sevens Series is Australia’s only all-University competition and intertwines students with elite Rugby players with each squad featuring students studying at the Universities.
Rugby Australia General Manager High Performance, Ben Whitaker said: “The expansion of the Aon University Sevens Series to five rounds shows the depth and ambition of not only our cohort of teams but the players who will be competing in 2018.
“With a five-round competition, the series now almost mirrors the number of events on the HSBC Women’s Sevens World Series, which is only going to enhance the series as a player pathway to prepare the next generation of Australian Sevens players for what’s required at the highest level.
“With five great University locations we will also get to showcase Rugby Sevens to new groups of sports fans around the country, supported by a quality broadcast from RUGBY.com.au which will make the competition accessible to all Rugby fans.”
UniSport Australia CEO Don Knapp said the expanded draw is a really positive indication the Women’s Aon Uni 7s Series is here to stay.
“The University of Sydney and The University of Melbourne both offer strong sporting programs, and it is indeed exciting to see these two powerhouse universities join the competition – I am sure their respective student-athletes are excited with the development,” Mr Knapp said.
“The data is showing student-athletes pursuing a dual career tend to be better retained in the system, achieve better academic results, and generally have enhanced employability prospects upon graduation.”
Aon Chief Executive Officer, James Baum, said Aon was proud to continue its work with Rugby Australia, supporting sustainable, diverse and elite teams through grassroots and pathway opportunities.
“We are thrilled by the growing success of this competition and delighted to see the tournament expand. It’s a great outcome for diversity in sport and the women’s game”.
2018 Aon University Sevens Series
August 25-26, University of Tasmania, Hobart
September 8-9, University of Canberra, Canberra
September 22-23, University of Queensland, Brisbane
October 6-7, Bond University, Gold Coast
October 20-21, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide