Gympie Hammers look to dominate Roma 7s
RUGBY UNION: Gympie Hammers women and men’s sides are preparing to dominate the Santos Roma Rugby 7s competition this Saturday and Sunday.
The annual competition continues to grow and this year will feature 12 women’s teams and 24 men’s sides.
The Hammers women finished second last year, going down to Tribe 7s in the grand final but with a relatively young squad this year coach Glenn Gamble hopes to use this comp for the development of his players.
“If we do as well as we did last year we will be happy but we will grow and develop our team out of it,” he said.
“We have a young side but are building towards the future. We have our senior players of the likes of Peta Dray and Caitlin Urwin and our young girls have the opportunity to play with our younger players.”
As other teams scout high profile players, Hammers were using their home grown talents.
“Island Breeze from Hervey Bay have a girl from the Melbourne Rebels playing for them but here at the Hammers we use our local talent,” Gamble said.
“It is not the strongest team we are taking to Roma; we had a number of injuries and we are resting those players but we have a number of junior players who can dominate.”
Forward Taylor Bell is relatively new to union and this will be the first time she heads out to Roma, playing in her second 7s competition.
“I played a 7s competition up in Hervey Bay last year but this is my first trip to Roma,” she said.
“Everyone talks about Roma 7s being the best time of the football season, so I am sure it will be just as good as everyone hopes.”
Bell has focused on her fitness in the lead-up to the competition.
“Sevens is all about cardio and I am a forward. I do not do a lot of cardio but I have been training at the gym outside the Hammers training sessions,” she said.
“I have been trying to run longer during the exercises and I am seeing an improvement in my fitness and I am more agile during contact.”
Bell is confident her team can have an impact out west.
“Hopefully we will take out the win because that would be pretty fun,” she said.
“My goal is to play for more than two minutes in the 14 minute halves.
“Playing with this group of girls has been great and has been motivating me.
“It would be nice to see our club expand, especially the women and we are a team to be reckoned with.”
The men’s side has focused on preparing for the warm conditions.
“We are pretty confident, it was a bit slow at the start but hopeful to get a few more numbers,” Hammers player Edwin Thompson said.
“Being dry heat, as opposed to the humidity we have, but hopefully we will stay on top of it.
“We have been doing a fair bit of warm up and fitness training – going for runs around the field and passing the ball around while running.”