QUEANBEYAN'S annual Rugby Sevens tournament has suffered a blow with organisers forced to cancel the women's side of the draw due to a lack of interest. Last year's Queanbeyan Sevens boasted the largest women's tournament in Australia with 13 teams including Chinese side and eventual premiers Shandong.
But with just four women's teams having nominated for this year's competition, tournament organiser Phil Hawke said he was left with no choice but to pull the plug. The men's competition will go ahead unaffected.
"I'm really disappointed about the women's side of things," Hawke acknowledged. "We were the biggest women's Sevens competition in Australia and now we've gone to nothing.
"We had a good roll up in the women's last year so I am a bit surprised. Especially given it's an Olympic sport in 2016, you'd think there would be real momentum building for it.
"I can only assume there's possibly another competition up in Sydney that we might be clashing with but if there is, I haven't heard about it."
Hawke also said the change in date for this year's tournament may also have had an effect on team numbers which are also down in the men's competition.
The Queanbeyan Sevens has traditionally been held as the main lead in tournament for the Kiama Sevens - the largest one day Rugby Sevens competition in the world.
This year however, surface refurbishments at Campese Field combined with a scheduling clash with the Queanbeyan Relay for Life, mean the tournament has been moved forward by a week.
"Usually we try to fit it in the week before Kiama but we haven't been able to do that this year so it might be on a week too early for a few teams," Hawke said.
The men's side of the draw has seen the withdrawal of a number of Sydney clubs including both of last year's finalists Manly and Parramatta.
But Hawke said there were also plenty of positives with this year's event to feature sides from New Zealand and Victoria for the first time, as well as the first appearance of a combined NSW Suburban side.
"I'm actually quite pleased ... we might not have the quantity of sides we would have liked but it's a high quality competition and there's a bit of variation in there as well with some new teams," Hawke said.
This year's Queanbeyan Sevens will take place at Taylor Park and Seiffert Oval on Saturday, February 8.