Women's 7s tackle Roma

3rd August 2017 2:51 PM
TAKE TO THE PITCH: Roma local Emilee Cherry with the Australian women's rugby sevens team during a training session in Roma. TAKE TO THE PITCH: Roma local Emilee Cherry with the Australian women's rugby sevens team during a training session in Roma. Alexia Austin

Cities rugby league oval has seen many legends grace its pitch over time and Wednesday was no exception, with the grounds hosting the Olympic gold medal-winning Australian women's rugby sevens team.

The national team, which made the journey from Brisbane, hit the pitch for some training in front of an excited local crowd.

Staying in Roma for two days, the team hosted a visitor-friendly training session and a rugby sevens clinic for school-aged students to help introduce more people to the sport.

Following their spectacular win against rivals New Zealand in the final of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, the team is looking forward to next year's Commonwealth Games to be held on home turf.

Growing up watching many matches at the Wattles rugby club, former Roma woman Emilee Cherry was excited to bring the team back to her home town.

"We've been in Brisbane, so we decided to come out and visit Toowoomba, which is where quite a few of the girls went to school, and then to here,” Cherry said.

"We wanted to give back to the communities, so we are running the clinics to allow people to experience rugby sevens and to get as many people as we can to embrace it.

"The girls were pretty excited to get to Roma: We have a fair few city girls from Sydney, so driving out here I got a lot of questions on what the town looks like.

"Iit's exciting to bring them to my home town.

"They were kind of starstruck when I showed them where they would be sleeping - under the stars.

"It's a great experience for our whole team to come out here and go back to our roots.”

The team is in pre-season training for the world circuit and Commonwealth Games, due to be held on the Gold Coast in April.

With the Commonwealth team yet to be decided, this visit helped showcase the full Australian women's squad, which consists of several Olympic team members and Commonwealth hopefuls.

Cherry believes the team is looking strong ahead of the world circuit.

"This pre-season has been about stripping it down and going back to basics and finding what were good at and building our fitness conditioning strength so we can build from there.

"It is going to be a big next 12 months.”

Manager and team coach assistant Dale Roberson said team members were looking forward to getting among the Roma community.

"This trip has been a great opportunity to give back to local communities where some of the girls are from,” Roberson said.

"The Cities field has a great set-up and we have been welcomed in the town.

" It's great to see some kids, family and friends come down and we look forward to getting everyone involved.”

"The drive was good fun: We had two buses, so there was plenty of music, a few road games, lots of fun and stories along the way.

"We are camping tonight with some Emilee Cherry's family. They have been kind enough to provide each of us with a swag so we will camp out under the stars around a fire.”

When the Commonwealth Games was broached, Roberson said he had every faith in the team.

"The team are massively excited to play on their home turf and because the good majority of the squad is from Queensland, it's even more special,” he said.

"It's very much about getting ready to play better in the world series and then peaking for the Commonwealth Games.

"Right now that means a lot of hard work putting in the ground work so they can be performing at their best when the games come about.”