It’s hard to forget the electricity, energy and magic of watching the Australian Rugby Sevens women’s team beat New Zealand to win gold at the Olympics this year; and there’s no doubt the skill on display is driving increased interest for the fast-paced sport at the grassroots level.
With the annual Townsville Rugby Sevens competition just around the corner, you have an opportunity to take part or watch the Sevens action unfold. We caught up with rugby relative newcomer Brianne (Bri) Rossato, who played her first game of Sevens ever at the end of 2013 and has since represented her country in the sport, and has just been invited to Sydney to train with the Australian Sevens team — super exciting! Read all about her journey and how you can get involved in this growing game.
“Playing with and against amazing athletes has only fuelled the fire for me wanting to better myself and further my experiences”
What sports did you play in your childhood? Growing up, I was that kid who would give anything and everything a go, so I pretty much played every sport going around: I swam, did surf lifesaving, athletics, netball, touch, soccer and got involved with every school sport imaginable.
So what piqued your interest in rugby? It would be the Fisher Shield, which is the Uni competition. I didn’t get to play in my first year (had other sporting commitments on the days that they played), but hearing the girls talk about how much fun they were having really made me want to give rugby a go.
How long have you been playing now? I played my first ever game of Sevens at the end of 2013 at the NQ games — I had no idea what I was doing and had never tackled before. I only started playing club rugby at the start of 2015, so I really haven’t been playing the sport for very long at all.
Then you were selected for the Queensland team! Yes, my selection into the Queensland team all started at the Townsville Sevens comp last year. A Reds scout saw me play and invited me down to train with the Reds squad in the lead up to Nationals last year. From there, I was picked to play in the Queensland Reds team in Wagga Wagga at the end of last year, where we finished third. I was then invited to travel to Darwin with the Reds Development team in January (2016). It was a great opportunity to get to play with and against quite a few of the Australian contracted girls. We placed second behind a very strong and experienced Tribe team and there’s definitely a good reason Darwin Sevens is known as the Hottest Sevens in the world — holy!!
You recently competed in the World University Rugby Sevens Tournament for Australia — what was that like? Playing in the green and gold was an amazing experience and getting to represent my country was a real honour. Although we didn’t come away with the results we had hoped for, it was a real eye-opener to see what the level of Sevens is around the world. To play against some of the best up-and-comers in the world of Sevens was a humbling experience. Playing with and against amazing athletes has only fuelled the fire for me wanting to better myself and further my experiences. It was a fantastic trip with a great group of girls — something I won’t be forgetting anytime soon.
What are your rugby ambitions for the near future? I’m heading off to Japan on October 20 to play a tournament, and I’ve just been informed that I have been invited down to Sydney to train with the Australian Sevens team sometime after returning from Japan. This is obviously a huge opportunity, so I will just be concentrating on training as hard as possible in the lead up to this. I am also moving down to Brisbane in the near future to join the QAS squad and continue to train alongside the girls and hopefully be selected to represent Queensland at Nationals in Adelaide.
What player do you look up to? Like most of the people following the Australian Sevens girls, I look up to Charlotte Caslick. Not only because of the amazing player that she is, but because she is the same age as me and I used to compete against her in touch, athletics and cross-country throughout our schooling life. So to see her achieving such amazing things kind of makes it seem more realistic for me to dream big and try to make it that far too.
You can have your first taste of Sevens by getting involved in this year’s Townsville Sevens senior competition on Saturday and Sunday October 1-2 — just like Bri, you need to start somewhere! But you need to be quick as registrations close this week. There are just a few spots left for the Senior Men’s, Senior Women’s and Under 20s Men’s Divisions. Find out more here. You can also discover more about the sport in general on the Townsville District Rugby Union website.