International rugby sevens coming to Bendigo

Australia's Evania Pelite on her way to scoring a crucial try against New Zealand in the gold medal game at the Rio Olympics. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Australia's Evania Pelite on her way to scoring a crucial try against New Zealand in the gold medal game at the Rio Olympics. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Australia’s Olympic champion rugby sevens women’s team is coming to Bendigo.

As part of their lead up to next year’s Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, the Aussies will play New Zealand in a five-match series over three days at Epsom-Huntly Recreation Reserve in October.

The Aussie women’s sevens team captured the hearts of Australian sport fans when it defeated New Zealand 24-17 in the gold medal game at the Rio Olympics last year.

“This is a really exciting opportunity for Rugby to take Women’s Rugby Sevens to regional Victoria and we are looking forward to seeing the games played in a brand-new location,’’ Australian Rugby Union high performance manager, Australian sevens, Scott Bowen said. 

“The tournament will serve as excellent preparation for (coach) Tim Walsh and his side as they look to prepare for the Commonwealth Games on our soil.

“We’d like to thank the City of Greater Bendigo and Sports and Recreation Victoria for welcoming the Australian Women’s Sevens side and their support of this series has been nothing short of exceptional.”

Charlotte Caslick in action in the Rio gold medal game against New Zealand. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Charlotte Caslick in action in the Rio gold medal game against New Zealand. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

 Walsh said the tournament was a perfect stepping stone for the Commonwealth Games.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to take our game to Bendigo and we are really looking forward to this three-match series against New Zealand,’’ he said.

“The Commonwealth Games on our home soil is a key target for our side and this tournament will serve as excellent preparation as we continue to build towards the Gold Coast.

“Outside of the games the team is really looking forward to meeting younger girls in the region and we will be sure to be engaging the local Bendigo community to play and enjoy our great game of rugby.”

The Aussies will conduct community engagement activities as well as local rugby training sessions for young fans throughout their time in Bendigo.

The five-match series will start with an evening match on Thursday, October 19. The teams back-up with double-headers in the afternoon and evening on Friday, October 20 and Saturday, October 21. 

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