The Southern Inland Barbarians 7s travelled to Yass last weekend to take part in the third round of the Super 7s Next Gen rugby tournament.
Southern Inland Under 14s and Under 16s age divisions featured players from the Albury Steamers, Griffith Blacks, Leeton Phantoms and for the first time on tour players from the Wagga Crows and the Young Yabbies.
The Under 16s squad was made up of Olympia Achillea (Albury), Ma’ata Alai Lokeni (Griffith), Shakiah Byrnes, Abby Carey, Bella Whitehead, Kara Yelland (Phantoms) and making their representative debut for Southern Inland were Charli Cunial (Griffith) Maddie Morton (Wagga Waratahs), Shelby Ferguson (Wagga Crows).
The Under 14s featured Abbey Brill, Alex Parisotto Hayley Burke, Sophia Kelsey and Beyonce Marela (Griffith) along with Eliza Kurrle, Elizabeth Lee (Phantoms) and Nakita Moran (Blueheelers) all playing their second tournament along with debutantes Xylavene Beale (Albury), Ella McRae (Young) and Yenda Blueheeelers rugby league players Lani Casaqua and Tiara Hardwick
The Under 16s once again found themselves in a very strong pool with their first two games against the Wests Lionesses and Illawarra who won the Canberra 7s and the Bateman’s Bay 7s respectively. In their previous encounter against Wests, the Barbarians were comprehensively beaten 0-45 so it was always going to be a measure to see what improvements the team has made in the ensuing weeks.
While the Baa-Baas lost 5-32 this time around, it was a vast improvement with new players to the squad providing better balance. It was a similar scoreline in the match against Illawarra with Southern Inland losing 0-34.
In their final pool match the Under 16s scored the narrowest of victories in their final pool match, winning 5-0 against the Jindabyne Bushpigs with the only try being scored by Ma’ata Alai-Lokeni.
For the second tournament the Barbarians found themselves in the Bowl final however the girls were unable to repeat their efforts in Canberra. Trinity Grammar took full advantage of the slow start by SIRU and took a commanding three try lead into the half-time break.
A rousing second half performance from the Baa-Baas that saw Maddie Morton and Charli Cunial cross for their first tries in SIRU colours brought the game to life, however it was not enough as SIRU fell 22-25.
With the withdrawal of the the Canberra Royals at the eleventh hour, the Under 14s competition was restructured which saw a single pool and each team playing one another to seek who would take out the tournament. The group featured the Far South Coast Falcons, the Bateman’s Bay Boars, the Jindabyne Bushpigs and the Southside Diamonds (Canberra) along with the Southern Inland Barbarians.
SIRU avenged their loss to the Bateman’s Bay Boars in Canberra with a superb 22-12 win.
In their second match, the Barbarians faced the Falcons, who took out the first two tournaments of the Super 7s Next Gen calendar in Canberra and Bateman’s Bay. The Barbarians took a 5-0 thanks to a great team try scored by Eliza Kurle and held this lead into the break.
The Falcons dominated the breakdown showing why they have been the form team of tour however it was on the back of two handling errors which saw them take a 10-5 lead. The Baa-Baas adjusted and avoided ruck contests and keep the ball alive and the change of tactics resulted in two late tries for SIRU and an upset 15-10 over the previously unbeaten Falcons.
The Under 14s rounded out their final games with a comfortable 30-0 win over the Jindabyne Bushpigs and a 19-5 win of the Southside Diamonds (Canberra) and finish on top of the group and coming away as champions.
The only downside were the injuries to Abby Carey (shoulder) and Kara Yelland (knee) which could see them miss the final round of the series to be played in Wagga on Saturday November 10.