Australian Universities use Singleton tournament as warm up for national championships

BRISBANE BOUND: Australian Universities coach Jason Grier (pictured in Singleton) will hope its a case of 'fifth time lucky' at this week's national championships in Brisbane.
BRISBANE BOUND: Australian Universities coach Jason Grier (pictured in Singleton) will hope its a case of 'fifth time lucky' at this week's national championships in Brisbane.

Victorious Australian University Rugby Sevens coach Jason Grier believes his side has what it takes in this week’s national championships in Brisbane.

His young group pulled off an impressive come-from-behind 29-22 win over Southern Beaches at the Singleton Hedweld Sevens tournament final on Saturday.

“We came to Singleton to finish off our selection criteria ahead of the nationals so our sole focus was to get the guys on the field, running together and seeing the combinations,” Grier said.

“We saw a good lot of combinations here at Rugby Park and we’ve come out the other side and achieved our job.”

Grier also celebrated convincing wins over Nelson Bay (28-10) and Central Coast (29-5) in the group stage before dismantling host club Singleton (40-0) earlier in the showcase.

But can he finally claim national bragging rights?

The former Gordon and Warringah mentor has guided the Australian Universities to the top five of the last four national championships.

His best result saw the group make the 2016 national final in Adelaide against Queensland only to face defeat 31-19 after being held scoreless in the first half.

“We really did have some great games this weekend to prepare us and even Singleton were good, they just need to be a bit more direct in their running,” he continued.

“It’s all about locking a man one on one and then freeing the people outside you if you can get that right you’ll create some space for everyone else. ”

“But it can be really difficult to direct from the regular format to this.”

Australian Universities will have a tough fixture on Friday when playing powerhouses New South Wales and Queensland before challenging Tasmania in the evening (full fixture).

Prop Ollie Horne and leader Jackson Bird remain as players to watch.

“I didn’t expect Jack Giles or Harry Emery to perform the way they did so that was rewarding to see as well in Singleton.”