Las Vegas Invitational

March is proving to be a pretty big month for us. Our men & women competed bravely at the Las Vegas Invitational with both teams getting through to the final of the elite men’s & women’s competitions played on Sam Boyd Stadium. Both teams were reduced to 10 players for their finals.

On the Saturday (4th March 2017), the men fought back from 14-0 down to push the match into extra time & won with a golden point try concocted by Tom Kingston & Mick Adams. It was a high quality final played against a very good Serevi side, coached by the master himself. We were lucky enough to have Lewis Holland guiding our boys and he continues to prove himself amongst the best minds in the game.

We didn’t really know what the expect coming into the tournament, but social media commentary told us we were in a pool of death with favorites Serevi, last year’s finalists Froggies & a strong English side. The draw make up, with 5 pools, reinforced our uncertainty and confirmed the pool of death scenario, with only one team from each pool guaranteed to progress to the quarter-finals.

Our first half performances in the pool games stamped us as the team to beat but our second half performances didn’t back that up, until the final pool game against Serevi when the lads put together the complete 14-minute performance we’d been waiting for. Following a narrow win & a narrow loss, that comprehensive performance probably ambushed a relaxed Serevi side and saved our tournament.

There was never going to be an ambush in the final rematch with Serevi. They were up for it. The tournament was won on super performances by all players, but none more important than the contribution of Tom Connor who was a stand-out across all games, but in the final arguably the difference, winning crucial turnovers to swing momentum our way.

Our women were given a tough draw as well and on the Sunday (5th March 2017) were a struck match away from emulating the effort of our men. They were pooled with Canada2 and faced with a cross-pool match against USA2 in the quarter-finals.

As anticipated, they did meet USA in the quarter-finals and trailed 17-7 with 2 minutes to go. It was fitting that the come-from-behind win was orchestrated by a veteran Welsh international and a 16 year-old Aussie in the blending of experience and youth that we’ve tried to build our teams around since 2013. Philippa Tuttiett had made a big impact from the bench all tournament and with time up, made a break following a Liz Patu turn-over,  before calmly passing back inside to Georgia Hannaway who scored under the posts to even it up. Georgia then, not so calmly, slot the winning conversion for a memorable victory.

The semi-final was equally dramatic. We’d lost our Welsh & Irish players for the final day with a scheduling change pushing the tournament into the Sunday. The Celts had already locked in return flights. The match against Scions finished at 21-21, before Darcie Morrison scored a long-range golden point try to send the girls into the final. It was a brave performance from the girls to recompose themselves having lost 4 of the strongest contributors from the preceding 4 games; the cold gale force winds added little comfort.

The final was a rematch against Canada2 who had beaten us 27-12 in the pool match. The girls would lose the final 17-7, but it was much closer than the score indicates. As deserving Canada were of the win, they needed a dubious penalty try call in their favour & an atrocious no knock-on call for their 3rd try to seal the game after our girls had battled back into it. At 12-7 down the Tribe7s girls had given themselves the chance to win it against the odds with the firepower offered by Demi Hayes, Dom Du Toit & Darcie Morrison playing off the back of a scheming Georgia Hannaway. It wasn’t to be, but they lost no friends playing their part in a high quality game for the big crowd at Sam Boyd Stadium.

If there had been a player of the tournament award given, Demi Hayes would have taken some beating for the gong. She won’t be too far away from winning her next World Series cap.

Under adversity coaches Lewis Holland & Cassidy Holland marshaled their troops beautifully and as usual our tireless tour manager, Felicity Bennetts, was the glue that held everything together. As can only be done in Las Vegas, Felicity celebrated a successful tournament by putting her female charges to bed late on Sunday night before treating herself to some well earned Flick time that continued through to around 2pm on Monday!

The season is not quite done. This weekend the men are in Sandakan, Borneo for the World’s Greenest 7s, quite a contrast to the Nevada Desert, but brimming with confidence, aiming for a second title in the month.

On a more somber note, we lost Sam Caslick to a severe cheekbone injury in the first pool game in Las Vegas, an injury the surgeon says is one of the worst he’s had to operate on. We wish Sam all the best for a speedy recovery.

Another Tribe7s player suffered a serious knee injury playing for the Aussie Pearls in Japan in February, forcing a knee reconstruction earlier this month. We wish Maddi Elliott the best of luck with her rehabilitation. Maddi will be charting her rehab on Instagram @roadtoaclrecovery for those interested in following her journey.

Here is an update from Maddi on her progress to date:

ACL injuries are so common, particularly in young female athletes. After seeing numerous friends and teammates go through this unfortunate experience, many of them multiple times, I thought I was one of the lucky ones who must have missed the boat being 26 and never having a major injury.

Unfortunately, on the 19/2/17 I tore my ACL, and underwent a reconstruction and meniscus repair on 8/3/17. It wasn’t until I sustained the injury that I realized I knew nothing about the slow process of rehab that would follow in the 9-12months ahead.

I have decided to document on Instagram the highs and lows of my road to ACL recovery so that when the going gets tough along the way I can look back at what I have achieved. It’s mainly for my own benefit but if anyone wants to follow my journey along the way my Instagram page is called @roadtoaclrecovery.
Day 8 – I didn’t realize how much energy my body must be using to try and heal! After my first day back at work I was knackered! Fell asleep on the lounge at 7:15!! Was also super achy last night so probably got a bit too keen yesterday. Have to remember not to push too hard too soon.

Due to my meniscus repair, I am unable to weight bear for longer than a pure ACL recon alone. My physio has instructed that while I will lose around 30% of my quad bulk on the injured leg initially, it is really important to keep strengthening the good leg as some of the strength effects can transfer to the injured leg. Pretty impressive what the body can do!! So I went along to the gym again today and modified the wod to mainly upper body and single leg movements. I was pleasantly surprised that my single leg rowing split was not that much worse than with two legs! There is no limit to what you can achieve, when there’s a will there’s a way.

Hottest 7s in the World – Darwin 2017

We return to Darwin next week for the fourth consecutive year to face the challenge of one of the world’s toughest tournaments. It’s always a good character building exercise and the presence of the Pearls and Thunderbolts will ensure that this year it won’t get any easier.

Last year we were lucky to have Charlotte Caslick & Vani Pelite rejoin the squad and lead a good balance of youngsters & more experienced players to a title win. With the benefit of hindsight, it’s pretty fair to say it was one of the best Tribe7s teams we’ve fielded, scoring 297-0 over the weekend, including a cup final demolition of a quality Queensland team that included 4 or 5 players that went on to play for Aussie 7s in the World Series in 2016.

Our men had some epic battles with the likes of Hong Kong & Borneo Eagles in our first couple of trips north, but last year saw the emergence of a pretty intense rivalry with the champion Fijian side, Tabadamu. It is disappointing that Tabadamu will miss the 2017 event, but there has been no drop in quality with the Thunderbolts, Cavaliers, Borneo Eagles, Spurs, Brisbane Fiji and Iconz in the draw.

For the first time in 4 years we have moved away from the ‘business model’ of fielding women’s teams with an even balance of quality young emerging players and a strong core of experienced players. This year 10 of our players are under 21 & 7 of them are 18 or under. It was a conscious decision knowing that Australia would bring something like 8 contracted players with their Pearls squad.

Can we compete with a Pearls team that includes someone like Vani Pelite who is a superstar of the game internationally? That question made us look at our vision ‘Aiming to develop future Olympians’. Question answered. The Pearls are bringing the anointed future of Aussie 7s to Darwin; girls with their sights set on the Gold Coast & Tokyo. We are bringing a bunch of 17 year olds, maybe a step behind, but armed with the same ambition and carrying a reminder that the bar will need to be constantly set higher, because someone is chasing hard.

Here is a look at the squads we are bringing in 2017 with comments from the coaching staff.


Liz Patu – Wallaroos, Qld Womens XV

Jannicke Ijdens – Dutch National

Veteronnica Fomai – Qld Youth 7s 2016

Tiarna Molloy – NSW Youth 7s, Aus Youth 7s 2016

Portia Bourke – Qld Youth 7s 2016

Jailyn To’o – Tribe U18 International tour to Noumea

Laura Waldie – Aus 7s, Qld 7s, Youth Olympics Gold Medallist

Lauren Brown – Qld 7s, Aus Uni 7s 2016

Marioulla Belessis – Qld 7s, Youth Olympics Gold Medallist

*Ashleigh Walker – NSW  7s, NSW Country XV Rookie of the Year 2016.

Georgia Hannaway – Qld Youth 7s

Emily Bass – Qld 7s Academy

*Tribe7s debut

This team has an eye on the future and very much focused on our ambition to help find and develop the stars of the future. Senior players in Wallaroo, Liz Patu, Dutch international 7s player Jannicke Ijdens & former Aussie 7s member Laura Waldie have been tasked with mentoring and leading the youngest team we have ever assembled for an open age elite tournament.

The team reflects the rebuilding plans in place for our program following the elevation of the likes of Georgie Friedrichs and Demi Hayes to full time contracts with the Aussie 7s program. Whilst we have a great tradition in finding young talent, it is only with the generous support of Locality Planning Energy behind us that we are able to provide a pathway to high levels of rugby for a young team like this.

Players to watchLauren Brown, after an outstanding 2016 7s season in which she was a part of the National Championship winning Queensland Reds team. She’s also got a wonderful pedigree, being from the same Queensland Primary School team as Charlotte Caslick & Vani Pelite that won the national touch championship in 2007! Another worth watching is Tiarna Molloy who has been with the Tribe program since she was 15 & returns to Darwin along with Liz Patu as the only surviving members of the 2016 squad. Molloy was part of the 2016 Australian Youth Team that toured New Zealand and captained our first junior touring team to Noumea. A strong ball runner with a high work rate, you can expect to see a lot of her over the weekend.

Coach Cassidy Holland “I’m excited by the group we have put together for the Coca-Cola Hottest 7s tournament. It is a real eye opener for the group to come to a high-level event like this with such a young squad, but we have made sure we have picked girls that will not quit when the going gets tough.”

And Hottest 7s in the World is as tough as it gets.


Gary Bautz – NSW 7s 2016 captain

Bennett Leslie- Aus 7s Development, NSW 7s

Joe Pincus – Qld 7s

Nicki Tuvitu – Qld 7s

Tom Connor – Aus 7s Development, NSW 7s

Jock Campbell  – Qld 7s

Sam Caslick – Aus 7s

Jack Curtin – Qld 7s

Connor Clancy – Qld 7s

Larry Hermans – Samoa training squad

Junior Laloifi – Aus 7s, Qld 7s, Qld Reds 2016

One to be named following a late withdrawal

Our men’s team sees a lot of familiar faces coming back together. Pincus, Leslie, Bautz, Connor and Campbell are all back from Dubai 7s (2016) along with regular long-serving players such as Laloifi, Tuvitu and Caslick dropping back into the squad for the Coca-Cola Hottest 7s tournament. This forms a strong squad that will take to the field over the two days at Rugby Park.

A player well worth keeping an eye on is Joe Pincus. He is a player who has shown large growth in his sevens development from regular game time with the program. Joe has just been down the Australian Sevens development program. Extremely strong in the air at restart time, so look for him to be a real weapon around that area of the game. But right across the squad you have real strike power. Junior Laloifi is back in black and the Ballymore Kid brings real x-factor with him. Every good sevens team has that player who gives the group it’s energy and for us, that’s Nicki Tuvitu. You get plenty of ordinary chat out of him in down time, but when the business starts, he’s the bloke pulling the group together.

Coach by Nathan McMahon “It’s like old mates coming back together. The banter has been flying within the chat group. We all really enjoy the company off the field.

The core of the playing group has been together for a long time now from a playing point of view. It is just making sure we are all on the same page with only one training session together and we all do our job and make sure the team comes first. It all starts with the work we are willing to do off the ball.

That will make this a very enjoyable weekend for the group at one of, if not the hardest place in the world to play sevens”.

Dubai 7s

Tribe7s will be returning to Dubai 7s in 2016. Our men won the International Open Men’s tournament in 2013. The next year our men competed in the International Invitational tournament and were runners-up to Samurai International. In 2014 we brought 2 women’s teams to the tournament, winning the International Open & finishing runners-up to Ireland in the International Invitational.

Team announcements will be made on or about 25th November 2016 & we are confident of naming squads that will compete strongly in the International Invitational tournament again this year.

Support from our major sponsor Locality Planning Energy ( & local sponsors Palazzo Versace Dubai ( and PLACE Community Managers ( make it possible for us to compete in this world class event.