When the University of Tasmania Lions head into the inaugural Aon Women’s Uni 7s Series on Friday (25 August), they will be making history in women’s sport and contributing to valuable sporting research.

Part of the University’s experienced School of Health Sciences Sport Performance Optimisation Research Team (SPORT) working with the Lions will be new recruit Ross Brosnan, who has moved to Tasmania from the Sydney Swans Academy - bringing with him a wealth of sports science experience.

Brosnan will also be using data collected from the team for his own PhD looking at the differences between elite and domestic athletes.

It will be a great way of identifying the factors that get athletes to that next step and we can then start applying those to the team.

The UTAS Lions team. (Image by Heath Holden.)

The 24 strong rugby squad is comprised of students, local players, Australian women’s sevens representatives and elite athletes from abroad.

University of Tasmania students selected for the side are Michaelyne Arumbi, Wynonah Conway, Jessica Dobbie, Kristina Farrelly, Rebecca Hyland, Caitlin Ryan and Brielle Quigley.

They will don the red jerseys alongside high-profile national players including Shanice Parker, as well as Sydnee Watanabe and Kiki Morgan from the United States.

Brosnan said the mix of domestic and elite athletes in the one team provided an excellent research environment.

Sometimes you need that controlled lab environment for research but in this case the girls are in their natural performance environment which is really exciting.

The mix of domestic and elite players in the team also provided a great mix of athletic talent and determination.

“The elite athletes bring a lot to the team and as far as the 17 girls we have picked, we couldn’t ask for more,” Brosnan said.

They are putting in so much and the commitment levels are brilliant, they want to know as much as possible.

Describing his new role as an exciting research and sporting opportunity, Brosnan said he was thrilled to be a part of the University’s world-renowned SPORT research group and hoped to bring to the table as much of his experience from the Sydney Swans Academy as possible.

“I hope to bring a huge amount to the team, not just from a sports science and physiology background but also from a culture and work ethic background too,” he said.

The Lions will make its national debut at University of Tasmania Stadium in Launceston on Friday, 25 August when the first of four tournaments in the series kicks off.   

Inspired by Australia’s women’s sevens success at Rio, Aon Women’s Uni 7s Series was announced by the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) in February to increase the number of pathways for aspiring athletes to progress towards national selection, while playing alongside the world’s best.

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