University of Canberra sevens coach Dave Grimmond hopes the lure of being able to play rugby around the world will help win the tug-of-war for female athletes.
The Canberra side's preparation for the national sevens series has been interrupted by player commitments for other sports, including soccer, Australian football and rugby league.
University of Canberra rugby sevens players Sammie Wood and Darcy Read.
The launch of the Super W 15-a-side competition has given females a pathway in rugby union, but the NRL is set to start its own competition, which could force players to choose between the codes.
But Grimmond believes rugby's status as an international game and the chance to play at Olympic Games and Commonwealth Games will help convince players to concentrate on the sport.
Former rugby league and touch player Yasmin Meakes was plucked from the Canberra side last year and added to the Australian team for world series events.
"The squad we've got is reasonably good, but it's complicated by players playing multiple sports in Canberra. We always work around it and do our best," Grimmond said.
"Girls are heavily committed and loyal to their sports. They'll come through for the sevens series, but it's just team time now.
"We've got a number of players who could pick up a ball of any shape and run with it because they're talented.
"[Seeing Meakes' success] opens peoples eyes. You can go from never playing the sport to being at the top … We need sevens to be the first choice.
"At the moment there are competing factors. League looks after them, but so does rugby. It just depends on how far they want to go, whether they want to play [internationally] or locally."
Canberra will host a round of the national sevens series for the first time next season, with the expanded competition to be played in Canberra on September 8-9.
The Australian sevens players will be available for some of the rounds, including the series in Canberra, but Grimmond expects Sharni Williams to miss most of the season.
Fullback Sammie Wood is one of the players returning for a second season and has stopped playing rugby league to focus on her rugby union development after being added to the Australian 15-a-side squad.
Wood played for the Queanbeyan Blues last year and has also played in the W-League soccer competition.
"I've gone from three different codes to one code this year," Wood said.
"Being picked for the Wallaroos put me in the mindset that I needed to focus on one, so I picked [rugby].
"At the moment I think because I grew up around rugby and I love the atmosphere. I love league, but it just clicked with the Super W this year and I really enjoyed it.
"Between soccer, AFL, league and union … there's a massive pathway for women now and it's good. It's good for the younger girls. When I was growing up there were only certain things you could play and now it's opened up, it's heart warming."
The sevens series has expanded to five rounds this year and includes the addition of teams from the University of Melbourne and the University of Sydney.
UNIVERSITY SEVENS SERIES
August 25-26: University of Tasmania, Hobart
September 8-9: University of Canberra, Canberra
September 22-23: University of Queensland, Brisbane
October 6-7: Bond University, Gold Coast
October 20-21: The University of Adelaide, Adelaide
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