Aussie Sevens squad eyes Ballymore home

New stadium at Ballymore, Brisbane. | Newsreel
The redeveloped Ballymore complex, in Herston, may soon be home to the Australian women's rugby sevens squad. | Photo: Supplied by Queensland Rugby Union.

The Australian women’s rugby sevens squad going through its paces at Ballymore will become a regular sight if Rugby Australia has its way.

The Aussie Sevens squad is training at the Herston complex, in inner Brisbane, this week in preparation for the Paris Olympics next month.

Rugby Australia Chairman Dan Herbert said the squad would be moved to Brisbane full-time if Government backing for a High-Performance Centre at Ballymore was approved.

Mr Herbert said the move would allow Ballymore to reach its full potential as a rugby asset.

“We are extremely proud of our Aussie Sevens women who have in recent years won a World Cup, a Commonwealth Games gold medal, the world series and, just this month, the Madrid grand final of the latest world sevens season,” Mr Herbert said.

“It makes perfect sense to have our elite women’s sevens program based at the same venue as our 15-a-side Wallaroos program because our strategy is to have them more closely integrated.”

Mr Herbert said rugby sevens was booming for women and girls.

“In 2023, there was a 26 per cent growth in sevens participation (and) the growth at 15s level was at 16 per cent.

“You just have to see what is ahead with our hosting of the 2029 Rugby World Cup for women and the 2032 Brisbane Olympics where rugby sevens will play to sellout crowds.”

Mr Herbert said there is an opportunity to inspire girls on their own Olympic journey because the 13 and 14-year-olds of today would be potential Olympians of Brisbane 2032.

“What the current squad do at the Paris Olympics in just a few weeks will stir that excitement even more.”

He said Rugby Australia was committed to moving the Australian Women’s Rugby Sevens Program to Ballymore full-time pending funding approval for the construction of a women’s sevens High-Performance facility.

Women’s Sevens Head coach Tim Walsh said the availability of three fields, training efficiencies, Brisbane’s extended sunshine months and an integrated model beside the current 15-a-side set-up made Ballymore the perfect place to base the sevens.

Queensland Rugby Union (QRU) Chief Executive David Hanham said rugby sevens becoming the first Olympic sport to switch full-time to Brisbane ahead of the 2032 Olympics would be a statement in its own right.

Mr Hanham said the QRU would continue to work with Government to develop a High-Performance Centre for women’s sevens within the plans for the venue’s Olympic future.