Female Sevens stars show support for western club
THE "Save the Western Force" cry isn't just coming from Wallaby giant Adam Coleman and his teammates but two budding sevens starlets who are proof that the girls game is soaring in Perth as well.
Langley Sesega, 17, didn't even have a rugby team to play for three years ago until the foresight in the west created a sevens pathway that has taken her to the gold medal game at the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas.
Everywhere you look, it seems, the Force is ticking the boxes it was created to achieve in 2006 - Perth-reared Wallabies like Dane Haylett-Petty, polishing Sydney-born recruits like Australian Under-20s prop Shambeckler Vui and producing Australian Schoolboy Carlo Tizzano.
Now girls from Perth are aspiring to continue the Olympic gold medal glow in sevens that Charlotte Caslick and co generated with their wonderful deeds in Rio last year.
When the Aussie girls were leading 17-5 in today's biggest pool game in steamy heat, it was Sesega who steamrollered over a Canadian defender and sent classy playmaker Page McGregor veering away for the clinching try.
Sesega was a ball girl at Force home games this season and the idea of her favourite team being cut from Super Rugby doesn't even enter her language.
"The Force should definitely be playing Super Rugby next year and they deserve to," Sesega said.
"I wouldn't be in this Australian team but for the Force starting a girls program and my school coach (Dwayne Grace) getting it started at my school.
Sesega, of Samoan and Australian heritage, is in Year 12 at Aranmore Catholic College which is also where forward Kennedy Cherrington, 18, advanced her game to reach the Bahamas.
Cherrington left school last year.
The Aussie girls shut out the Canadians 24-17 but were given a late fright that will benefit their focus when the two teams meet again in tomorrow's gold medal game.
The Aussies finished with just five players on the field because of two late yellow cards.
Arabella McKenzie was whistled for a ruck infringement and Abby Holmes was shown her card when too aggressively challenging a Canadian tryscorer as she dotted down on full-time.
That last infringement gave the Canadians an extra possession and try against depleted defence.
Newcastle's Hannah Southwell scored a strong opening try and her experience was invaluable after the unbeaten stroll by Bermuda (60-0), Trinidad and Tobaga (62-0), Fiji (41-5) and Wales (26-0) earlier in pool play.
Narooma-bred winger Lilly-Rose Bennett's hat-trick against Trinidad and Tobago showed all the speed that her genes suggest because father Justin was a champion beach sprinter.
"I was most pleased with our defence against a strong Canadian side but you don't want to let your guard down because finishing with five on the field was not ideal," Australian girls sevens coach Dale Roberson said.
"It will be a tough battle against Canada in the final, they always are.
"This youth tournament is a great chance to expose players to international competition and have them push for further honours in our national development team and Australian team."