Rugby sevens explosion hits Gatton
RUGBY UNION: Since Australia's gold medal win in the women's rugby sevens at the 2016 Rio Olympics, the game has rapidly expanded across the country.
It is a trend that has carried into Gatton with the Black Sows Rugby Union Club one of seven women's teams a part of the inaugural Downs Rugby competition.
They will compete in fixtures throughout the year as well as regular carnivals, which is where they will earn points based on their final placings with the aim of making the grand final at the start of September.
Over the weekend, Gatton finished sixth at the first carnival of the season held in Chinchilla.
Club president Jacinta Fricot said it was encouraging for the club to be included in the new initiative.
"We've been trying to find our feet for a couple of years,” Fricot said.
"It's the first official comp we've had, the last couple of years we've just been joining on to the Gold Coast (competition) unofficially.”
Team captain Freya Russell said the heroics of Charlotte Caslick and co. in Rio had put women's sevens "on the map.”
"It has propelled it forward like ten years... this is the first year we've had really good numbers,” Russell said.
The Black Sows skipper is only one a few experienced rugby players in the 16 woman squad but she said the newcomers had taken well to the sport.
"There are only three of us who have actually played sevens before,” she said.
"There were three solid weeks where it was just teaching people basics and rules and how to tackle... which can get a bit drawn out.
"But it's worth it in the end for them to actually know what they're doing and that they aren't going to get hurt in a tackle.”
Having the support of local businesses has given them a boost and allowed the entire team to be kitted out with training gear and jerseys.
"Some of them are quite small businesses as well and they've jumped on board, which we're very appreciative of,” Fricot said.