Some of Victoria's most promising young talent have been called into the Barbarians 7s squad to compete against the might of NSW and QLD.
Wunderkinds Alicia Tavita (Melton Rugby Club), Chelsea Walker (The Grange school) and Maisy Evans (Melbourne Unicorns) will head up to Sydney this weekend with the well wishes of the Victorian rugby community fuelling their motivation ahead of their two day tournament at Foreshaw Rugby Park.
Helping them integrate into the cobbled together team will be assistant coach Tania Kopeke from Wyndham City Rhinos, whose appointment is another feather in her cap following her recent Ann Nicholson award.
We chatted with the three girls ahead of their trip north.
Rugby Victoria (RV): Congratulations on the selection! How exciting it must have been to hear the news - how did you react?
Maisy: Mum let me know on the phone on my way home from school and I was so shocked and surprised and excited all at the same time. I actually almost felt like crying from happiness!
Chelsea: My mum was the first person that found out and she surprised me when I got home I was so happy and excited to participate in this
RV: With the Babas players coming from multiple states, how has your preparation been?
Maisy: Preparing for the tournament has been hard work, heaps of fitness, strength and conditioning but I believe with Tarnz (Tania Kopeke) as an amazing coach, me and the VIC girls are more than ready to play our hearts out on the field.
Alicia: It's been a really terrific but intense training block to get us ready for the weekend. We've only had the two weeks to get ready.
RV: What is it about the sevens game that you love the most? How does it play to your strengths as a rugby player?
Chelsea: I love the fitness and the way you have to use all the space you have and it really makes you think because it’s a fast game.
Maisy: The thing I love most about sevens is the speed and versatility of the game. Ever since I was in year 5 when I presented an oral presentation about the women’s 7s competition, I’ve loved watching it and hoped that one day I’d be one of the pearls. The game of sevens plays to my strengths such as speed, agility and ability to read plays and create space for teammates.
Alicia: This is actually my first ever 7s game! Though 7s is one of my favourite sports because it promotes teamwork and excellent physical fitness.
RV: A weekend away on tour...What are you looking forward to most?
Maisy: The thing I’m most looking forward to about the tournament is making new friends, building stronger connecting with my teammates and of course playing sevens because i believe it’s truly a game I can excel at.
Alicia: Just the opportunity to get to know all my teammates from all the different states that make up the Barbarians. Having a bit of fun together will also be important.
RV: What do you want to take away from this experience?
Chelsea: Just to never let your nerves distract the ability you have.
Maisy: To Build my knowledge and skills around the game.
Alicia: To improve my agility, combat and recovery.
RV: Best of luck crew
The tournament will be livestreamed on the Rugby Xplorer app