2018 Jack Scott Cup Grand Final: Meet the Teams – Sydney University
All photos by AJF Photography
Sydney University take on Warringah tomorrow in the Jack Scott Cup Final at Woollahra Oval, hoping to win back the trophy they lost at the hands of the Ratettes last season. With an unbeaten record in 2018 going into the decider, they seem intent on returning the trophy to Camperdown. Flanker Emily Chancellor and lock Sera Naiqama, take us through the squad of 23 for the grand final showdown…
1. BRITTANY LE’AU’ANAE: ‘Britt-Britt’ is the savage one in the team, keeping the girls in their place. Britt made a 50 metre dash for the tryline in round one versus Parramatta, palming off 50% of the Two Blues team to score and reminding everyone of what she is capable of. Don’t get in her way – we wouldn’t!
2. TASMIN SHEPPARD: ‘Taz’ is the front-rower that shows up half the team with fitness and in the gym lifting weights. An extremely consistent trainer, and a girl the team relies on. Whilst juggling a new job, interstate and international travel, training, league, and her beloved Lionesses. Taz is set to lead the pack around on Saturday from hooker.
3. TISERA MATAIA VOLKMAN: The Canterbury junior is the newest addition to the SUWR pride. Although she is softly spoken and gentle in nature, neither of these attributes are on display when she’s on the field. Just 17 years of age and playing rugby beyond her years. Don’t believe it? Watch her yourself!
4. HARUKA TAKAHASHI: A veteran of Sydney Uni rugby, ‘H’ is a florist by day, and lead jumper in the second row. A jack-of-all-trades, you will sometimes find ‘H’ throwing and hooking. Don’t let her ripe old age of 40-plus deceive you.
5. NOELLA GREEN: A newcomer to the Lioness Family. When ‘Nelly’ isn’t at CrossFit, she is managing worksites’ WHS compliance, and carving up on the rugby field. She has got your back on the field, and loves a good carry of the ball. ‘Nelly’ is one of those gals that is no fuss and gets the job done. But don’t worry, the hard work is not unnoticed.
6. EMILY CHANCELLOR: Plainly put, ‘Chance’ is the Queen of Sydney Uni. Having studied, worked and played for the University, this lasses’ heart beats for the blue and gold. She plays hard with the ball in hand and even harder when it’s not. Despite enduring injury at the beginning of this season, like a true lioness, she applied herself to rehab and rose from the ashes to come back bigger and stronger. In recent weeks, ‘Chance’ has earned two caps for Australia, and been a standout at the Aon 7’s. Keep your eye out for this fearless flanker – Emily is just getting warmed up!
7. FI JONES: If you can’t see her, you can hear her screaming “L’IL ONE!” Fi’s physicality at the breakdown, and work rate throughout the entirety of the game is second-to-none, and she will definitely be an asset leading into this week’s big dance. In her spare time she enjoys listening to the Spice Girls, and likes to refer to herself as Baby Spice. The resemblance is spot on!
8. GRACE HAMILTON: Grace to all, but ‘Hammo’ to us. A powerful number 8 that can take a great deal of credit for the success of SUWR this season. When you’re deep in the trenches, you can rely on ‘Hammo’ to break through the line or run the notorious sneaky switch off number 10. There is no denying this lass is a force to be reckoned with!
9. ILISEVA BATIBASAGA: An unpredictable no.9 who can spot opportunity anywhere on the field. Whether it’s a box-kick when the Students are treading in their own red zone, or sneaking through the 10 channel 40 metres out from the try zone, there is no line ‘Ili’ isn’t scared to attack. Word has it that the secret to her longevity in the game has everything to do with her pre-game ritual, which includes litres of Hydrolyte and her Himalayan pink salt lamp.
10. ASHLEIGH HEWSON (c): Veteran. Hero. Leader. Selfless. War-Horse. Relentless. Captain. Truth is, this Lioness needs no introduction. To know women’s rugby in Australia is to know Ashleigh Hewson. ‘Hewy’ is woven into the very fabric that makes SUWR the club it is, and has led the pride from the front on the field. Off the field? Well, you’ll find her at The Hood chanting “RUMMMMMM!” #culture
11. MADDA WILSON: From beginning her rugby in America on exchange, boy are we glad Madda smelt the competitive culture at Sydney Uni and came along to join the pride this year! Deceptively speedy and ferocious in contact, Madda is one to watch this Saturday. When she says she is tired it is not without reason, as she is in the middle of training for a marathon. When asked why, she says “It’s fun!” – Who runs for fun?!? We will leave that to her. Fingers crossed it was just a 200km week of running in the lead up to the big dance.
12. KIRRILY LAWS: Kirrily, AKA ‘Little’, is one half of the Laws’ family dynamic duo. The only thing small about this Lioness is her size, as she is known for running at the biggest players in the opposition, and having more leg drive than all the forwards put together. If you find yourself in a one-on-one situation with her, you may as well freely give up the ball, because ‘Little’ never walks away empty-handed. You heard it here first!
13. KIM DAVEY: A lady with more facts stored in her head than on the entire World Wide Web, this science teacher saves room for rugby in that brain as well, and knows how to carve up. Always found pre-training or pre-game going through a detailed ‘pre-hab’ routine, focusing on glutes, hamstrings, scaps, knees, feet, ankles…. the list goes on. This odd-sock wearing feline can deceive the untrained eye as unorganised, but watch her on the field, she has a knack for running a mean short line from 13.
14. ANNIE HACK: Here at Sydney Uni Women’s Rugby Club we love students, and are happy to welcome them from anywhere, including from the University of Queensland (UQ). A medical student now living in Sydney, location is key with her busy schedule. This speedy winger goes searching for contact in defence, and her claws hurt. Look out for this pocket rocket. She’s more of a cheetah speed-wise, but that’s still in the cat family, so we are glad to have this Lioness on our side this weekend.
15. TAMYKA LAWS: Kirrily’s younger and smaller sister AKA ‘Tiny’, forms the second half of the Laws’ family dynamic duo. With her zippy step, fake switches and fangs that leave a mark, ‘Tiny’ is only a name, not the impression she will leave. Purring orders from the fullback position, Myka has controlled many defence lines, and knows when to pop into the attacking line to skin up the competition!
16. BRIDIE O’GORMAN: In 2017, Bridie was named Rookie of the Season. This year she stands as one of SUWR’s most versatile forwards, who can play in any row of the scrum. Whether it’s a 5am wake up call to Sera Naiqama to make sure she isn’t late for gym, or endless pick and drives off the ruck 10 metres out from the try line, you know you can always count on Bridie.
17. KAITLYN HART: Kaitlyn has joined us from Hong Kong as she entered into her first year of Uni here in Sydney. This Lioness, formally a front-rower, has entered into the world of the second row with the Students. As our international felines do, this Lioness left us over the Uni break to head home and remind us all how jolly cold Sydney can be. But now she is back, she brings the warmth and enthusiasm that our pride needs. A handy finisher for the students, we are glad this one had to come back to continue to grow her HECS debt.
18. NICOLE PUNI: ‘Red Lips’. This is probably all that needs to be said to describe Puni. 6am in the gym: Red Lips. 6pm on field in the rain: Red Lips. Corporate rugby function in the city: Red Lips and Red Heels. Unfortunately, this Lioness has struggled with a few calf-related injuries this year, namely from breaking it down at the Ivy one Friday night (on a bye weekend of course). And if you have seen her calves you would know a calf injury is a serious thing – those puppies are huge! A front-row replacement, Puni knows how to get in the middle of it all.
19. GABI PIOLLI: An experienced Brazilian forward who commutes weekly from the west. Gabi doesn’t mind putting in the work, and you can trust when she takes the field in the second half that this Lioness is roaring to put everything out there. She prides herself on being environmentally savvy by riding her scooter, and reducing her ecological footprint in the process.
20. CELINE TAN: Celine is a training physio student, and has been seen admiring the work of team physio Dave before games, and running off to the men’s games to help strap. This hard-hitting, relentless loose forward knows how to run the ball, and some would call her the ‘ultimate wingman’ as a supporter in defence. She could hit every ruck if she didn’t want to share the load with the rest of the pack.
21. SERA NAIQAMA: ‘Sez’, ‘Skezzy’ or ‘Queen of Culture’. #serasituations. This girl is hard to miss. Leading team rehab for the majority of this season, nothing can hold this Lionesses’ spirit back – be that a letter of release from the surgeon, some relentless training, early mornings, magpie attacks, contact sessions, or many, many ‘Lou-lou’ cardio sessions of doom. This Lioness is back on the field better than ever. With a ‘puffer’ always close by, if her strong running and attitude doesn’t dent the opposition, her lineout work will. This second row has the heart of a lion, but don’t be deceived, not everything is smooth sailing. This lioness knows dedication and team spirit. ‘Raarghhh!’
22. BARBARA WADDELL: ‘El Presidente’, ‘Babsy’ or ‘Barbs’. A no.9 and utility back who knows what hard work means, and knows how to roar orders at her pack of Lionesses on the field. An international rugby league player (Canada, 2017 RLWC), she has spent many a Saturday playing multiple games of rugby. A leader in the inaugural Sydney University Aon 7’s team, this girl knows about commitment and discipline. With a weakness for cheese, this Lioness can only be distracted by its smell – be it on her eggs in the morning, or pre-dinner, or for dinner – anytime will do!
23. CLAUDIA BELL: An Australian UniRoo at the World University Games this year in Rugby Sevens, Belly has developed into a hard hitting young cub. With a thirst for knowledge and a willingness to just get out there and play, sometimes we are all confused if she is a back or a forward, having played in the backrow, 10, 12 and on the wing this season. Is there anything she can’t do? As a utility back sub this weekend, watch out for this Lioness. You won’t know what has hit you.
SYDNEY UNIVERSITY: 1. Brittany Le’Au’Anae; 2. Tasmin Sheppard; 3. Tisera Mataia Volkman; 4. Haruka Takahashi; 5. Noella Green; 6. Emily Chancellor; 7. Fi Jones; 8. Grace Hamilton; 9. Iliseva Batibasaga; 10. Ash Hewson (c); 11. Madda Wilson; 12. Kirrily Laws; 13. Kim Davey; 14. Annie Hack; 15. Tamyka Laws – Replacements: 16. Bridie O’Gorman; 17. Kaitlyn Hart; 18. Nicole Puni; 19.Gabi Piolli; 20.Celine Tan: 21. Sera Naiqama; 22. Barbera Waddell; 23. Claudia Bell
CHECK OUT THEIR OPPONENTS WARRINGAH HERE