California Dreamin' of a Pro Career in S7!

Philadelphia, PA - May 17, 2019 - For Immediate Release-The call to action has been sent and answered. Only a few hours after the S7 Rugby group announced plans for their first ever player draft, the  applicants began to flow in.   

History will read that the first registration came from the United States - more specifically, from California, where Joanne Absher is dreaming of becoming a founding member of the nation's first professional women's rugby league (S7) featuring  the revolutionary 48-minute format. "I think specialized training and overall fitness will be a key for anyone who makes the grade in this format" said  Joanne, a 27-year old who works for a start-up technology company in San Luis Obispo. "I mean the current tournament style of 7s can be tough enough with all the sprinting. But when I read about the new rule of free substitution, I thought, wow, this could be really interesting. A real chess match as well as a physical test"  

Joanne has played in the shorter timed tournament 7s format for her hometown club team, and is a standout for the San Luis Obispo 15s team as well, earning SoCal all-star honors. But it was her exposure to the "mecca of rugby" - her term - that changed her life and ambitions. "I had the chance to travel to New Zealand with my boyfriend, who is from there - he's a player and coach. I was there for 13 months, and was able to play for the Ponsonby Premier team in Auckland. Three of my teammates  played for the Black Ferns, the national women's team, and it was unreal. The training, their intensity, their focus. I wish I could have downloaded their brains to bring back with me!" Current NZ standout Toka Natua  was among her teammates.   

It has been quite a journey for this gifted all-around athlete, who played them all - all the way through college. Basketball, volleyball, soccer, swimming, even martial arts - but not ... rugby! "No, my college did not have a team, but when I graduated (2013) a friend took me to see her practice with the town club rugby team, and I was hooked. Speaking of which,  hooker may be her best position. She is a combo of size, speed. and power. At 5-7, 160 she has the multi-dimensional attributes well-suited for the S7 format.

Joanne will have a tough decision to make if and when her name it called in the upcoming June 10 draft. "Yeah, I would have to ask for the time off, or maybe work from the road. Then again, this wouldn't be the first time I quit a job  to play rugby, and if I do, this time I get paid!" 

Through the S7 website ( any player, man or woman, from anywhere in the world, can apply for the June 10  draft. Players who make one of the 12 teams (6 men's teams, 6 women's teams) will compete in the S7 Summer Series of professional competition.

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David Niumataiwalu