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AON Uni 7’s Player Profile: Stephanie Rutherford Bond University


Photo: Rugby Australia Media - Karen Watson

As the second round of the AON Uni 7’s kicks off at Bond University on the Gold Coast this weekend, Bond winger Stephanie Rutherford talks about her introduction to rugby and her meteoric rise to the starting side.

Three years ago, Stephanie didn’t know Rugby 7’s existed as women’s sport. Now she’s competing in her third AON Uni 7’s tournament.

“A friend and I played touch football our whole lives. Then at the Rio Olympics we saw the women Rugby 7’s competition. To be honest I knew nothing about women’s rugby, I didn’t know women participated in this sport,” said Stephanie.

“After Rio Olympics, another friend of ours who’s killing it at the Brisbane Broncos women’s rugby league team said come down to Bond and give 7’s a crack and here we are.

“They have really good facilities at Bond, the gym the trainers and the strength and conditioning coaches are all really good.”

Photo: Rugby Australia Media - Karen Watson

Discussing the experience of playing in the AON Uni 7’s, Stephanie says the integration of the Australian players has really helped shape her game.

“It’s been an awesome experience, the first year we had Charlotte Casslick and Brooke Walker in our team. It was unreal to be able to get that sort of insight and experience into the game,” said Stephanie.

“The AON Uni 7’s is the highest national comp for women’s Rugby 7’s in Australia. All the Aussie staff are at the ground watching so it’s a great opportunity for the girls who want to go onto bigger and better things.”

Stephanie is in her fifth year of studying a double degree in Arts and Law and understands the balancing act required to achieve great things both on and off the field.

“Bond are really good at understanding the balance between sport and study and, they do offer us extensions on assignments and the option to defer exams if need be,” said Stephanie.

“I’ve been used to a heavy workload all throughout school, so I don’t really struggle with balancing my commitments. I just try and stay as organised as I can.”

Reflecting on the first round of the AON Uni 7’s in Brisbane two weeks ago, Stephanie lamented her sides slow start to the tournament.

“At UQ a couple of weeks ago we took off slowly so we will be looking to start a bit quicker on the weekend. We definitely want to improve and our preparation has been a bit better heading into round two on Saturday,” said Stephanie.

“We just try and stay as grounded as we can and focus on each game as it comes.”

According to Stephanie, first round victors the University of Queensland are certainly the team to beat in 2019.

“Initially I would have said Griffith would be favourites to win this year’s AON Uni 7’s, but after the first round I’d say UQ. Their team is really strong, and they have a few very talented girls,” said Stephanie.

“Our biggest rival would be UQ. We have only beaten them once in our history which was last year down in Canberra and our was pretty stoked.”

“In terms of who plays the most exciting rugby, I really enjoy watching Griffith. They play an exciting brand and they’re great to watch. They try different things like putting kicks in which you don’t see a lot of the teams doing in the competition which is good.”

Photo: Rugby Australia Media - Karen Watson

Round two of the AON Uni 7’s is at Bond University on the Gold Coast this Saturday 28 September with finals to be held on Sunday 29 September.

Bond University play their first game of round two at 9.20am against 2018 champions Griffith University.

All games will be live streamed on rugby.com.au.