Thu, Jun 20, 2024, 7:04 AM
Queensland Rugby Media Unit

Australia’s champion women’s Rugby Sevens squad will be moved to Brisbane full-time should Government backing for a High-Performance Centre at Ballymore be approved.

Rugby Australia Chairman Dan Herbert today made that significant commitment to “allow Ballymore to reach its full potential as one of Rugby’s great assets.”

Sevens superstar Charlotte Caslick and her Aussie Sevens teammates are training at Ballymore this week to prepare for their gold medal bid at next month’s Paris Olympics.

“We are extremely proud of our Aussie Sevens women who have in recent years won a World Cup, a Commonwealth Games gold medal, the world series and, just this month, the Madrid grand final of the latest world sevens season,” Herbert said.

“It makes perfect sense to have our elite women’s sevens program based at the same venue as our 15-a-side Wallaroos program because our strategy is to have them more closely integrated.

“You just have to see what is ahead with our hosting of the 2029 Rugby World Cup for women and the 2032 Brisbane Olympics where rugby sevens will play to sellout crowds.

“There is also the ability to inspire boys and girls on their own Olympic journey because the 13 and 14-year-olds of today will be the potential Olympians of Brisbane 2032.

“What Charlotte Caslick and the current squad do at the Paris Olympics in just a few weeks will stir that excitement even more.

“We know Rugby Sevens is booming for women and girls. In 2023, there was a 26 per cent growth in sevens participation. The growth at 15s level was at 16 per cent. RA has committed a further $3 million to the women's game in 2024.

“We know Ballymore is the right home for women’s sevens.

“Today, I’m happy to announce RA’s commitment to move the Australian Women’s Rugby Sevens Program to Ballymore full-time pending funding approval for the construction of a women’s sevens High-Performance facility.”

Women’s Sevens Head coach Tim Walsh said the availability of three fields, training efficiencies, Brisbane’s extended sunshine months and an integrated model beside the current 15-a-side set-up made Ballymore “a perfect place to base the Sevens.”

Queensland Rugby Union Chief Executive David Hanham said Rugby Sevens becoming the first Olympic sport to switch full-time to Brisbane ahead of the 2032 Olympics would be a statement in its own right.

“More than 90,000 people have attended the BMS National Rugby Training Centre since it opened 12 months ago,” Hanham said.

“Men and women, boys and girls, have come to train and play Rugby Sevens and 15s, women’s A-League Football and Flag Football. The precinct hosted three NRL clubs for training before Magic Round and Rugby’s grassroots club grand finals.

“Delivering the NRTC redevelopment on time and on budget for $31.5 million is proof the new Ballymore is as billed…multi-purpose and an essential hub for women’s rectangular sport in Queensland.

“It had support from both sides of Government and we continue to work with Government on our vision for the future which is a High-Performance Centre for women’s Sevens within a grandstand for the venue’s Olympic future.”