A TOP-LEVEL rugby player who plays locally in the Elizabeth region has been selected to compete for a place to represent Australia at the World University Games.
Elizabeth Rugby Union Club member Lauren Kildare will travel to Brisbane later this month and participate in a training camp with top university players from around the country in Australia’s university rugby sevens squad.
The final squad will be selected at the camp, before the team travels to Swakopmund, Namibia, in July, to compete at the World University Games.
Miss Kildare said representing Australia at the games is something that would “mean the world” to her.
“It’s a pretty amazing opportunity to be able to go away and play against the best players who are going through university at the moment,” she said.
The 22-year-old, who is also a member of the University of Adelaide Romas’ women’s rugby sevens team, began playing for Elizabeth after the university launched a program to further develop women’s rugby across South Australia.
As part of the program, semi-professional players from the Romas’ squad were spread across eight clubs around the state to expose other rugby communities to the skillsets of those from the elite university squad.
Miss Kildare said the move out to Elizabeth Rugby Union Club has been great for her own development and, while the club only fields a women’s rugby sevens team, she hopes to see more players become involved in the future.
“It’s been a really awesome experience, so far, particularly growing women’s rugby out here,” she said.
“(Elizabeth) can’t quite put together a full side of 15 at the moment, so being able to play sevens, which requires a smaller group of people, really encourages the growth out here and, hopefully, it will bring more players out to grow the sport, full stop.”
Miss Kildare said anyone who is interested in rugby should “give it a crack” and get involved.
“It’s a great game, there are great people involved and it has a strong culture,” she said.