Women retain crown

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By Michael Brooke
THE Army women’s team, which boasts four national team representatives, stamped its dominance on the 2014 Australian Services Rugby Championships with crushing victories over Navy and Air Force. Army thrashed Air Force 85-0 and Navy 55-0 in the rugby championships played at Sydney’s David Phillips Sports Field from May 18-24. As a result of Army’s dominance at the championships they had 19 players selected in the 25-player ASRU Women’s squad, including Cfn Sheena Sidin, of 7CSSB, who was awarded the Rookie of the Tournament award. Army’s three Wallaroo forwards, Capts Alisha Hewett, of 11CHC, Caroline Vakalahi, of HQ 1 Div, and Cpl Mollie Gray, of the School of Infantry, were also brilliant throughout the tournament. Capt Hewett was voted Most Valuable Player against Navy, which also earned her the female MVP for the tournament. Army’s ARU sevens representative, Pte Georgia Smith, of 2RAR, proved her attacking prowess with a switch from half-back to fullback, where she cut through the opposition defence with her electrifying pace. Army’s fringe Wallaroos, Cpls Hayley Sullivan, of JMCO, and Lucy Lockhart, of 2CER, were also impressive throughout the tournament, pulling off try-saving tackles and engineering their team’s scoring opportunities. Cpl Sullivan said Army had too much firepower for Navy, posting 10 tries, but it was a tough game. “We had to work hard for the win today, because Navy really stuck it to us with a very physical game,” she said. Army’s crushing victory over Navy featured three tries each by Capt Hewett and Pte Smith, two tries to Cpl Nicole King, of 3CER, and tries by Cpl Lockhart and Cfn Sidin. The triumph followed Army’s spirited victory over a combined Navy and Air Force team at the 2013 championship at Sydney’s Victoria Barracks, where Army opened their 2014 campaign against Air Force, in which they scored 15 tries and 10 conversions. Pte Smith scored a hat-trick, while Capt Vakalahi and Cpl Gray each scored twice. Capt Hewitt scored a slick try in the first half, but the try of the match was posted by rampaging forward Cfn Sidin, who ran 50m barging over defenders and fooling others with a flurry of dummy passes. Army’s wily fly-half Cpl Lockhart scored three tries and kicked three conversions. She is on standby for the Wallaroos’ World Cup assault, pending form or injury to current squad members. The Army Wallaroos will now turn their attention to a World Cup selection trial against Canada and the Black Ferns in New Zealand on June 1. Meanwhile, Pte Smith was selected to play for Australian rugby after four scintillating performances at the ARU women’s sevens competition at Canberra’s National Institute of Sport during March 8-9. Pte Smith is on track with her dream of wearing the green and gold in sevens rugby at the Olympics in 2016. As a result of Army’s dominance at this year’s championships they had 19 players selected in the ASRU Women’s squad.

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