WHILE she did not make the starting sides of any of the Australian women’s rugby seven’s tournments this season, Queanbeyan star Nikki Stanley is still confident heading towards the Rio 2016 Olympics.
Stanley trained with the Australian squad for the first time back in March at a three day training camp in Sydney, and played in a shortened exhibition match at half time of the NSW Waratahs v Melbourne Rebels Super Rugby clash at the Sydney Football Stadium on March 21.
The squad travelled to China in early April for a world series tournament, finishing second overall to heavyweights New Zealnad, but unfortunately Stanley did not make the final squad for that team, which will also travel to Amsterdam this week for the final world series event of the year.
However Stanley has again been selected in a larger squad to head into camp in Sydney in five weeks’ time, and with all national contracts up for renewal, is backing herself to make the final playing squad for next season.
“They’ve called me back for this next camp which is good, and this is the important one where they are re-contracting, so hopefully I can pick up a contract after this,” she said.
Women’s Sevens coach Tim Walsh took great notice of Stanley’s ability with her ball work and strength at the start of the year, and brought her into the initial squad to train.
Each player was given personal feedback by coaching staff, and Stanley said in the end she needed to work more on her running and passing game, which she believes she can improve before trialing for a contract at the next camp.
“I’ll need to keep working on my core fitness,” she said.
“I’ve been working really hard and running five times a week and passing at least three times a week, more than what I had been doing.”
“If I can stay injury free, I think I’ll be in a good place to trial.”
Stanley played in two pre-season tournaments for the Queanbeyan Whites women’s team locally while training at home, and will line-up for them this season.