Graham Croker
Sydney University Women’s First XV won their first premiership in the Sydney Women’s Rugby Union competition, with a 23-10 win over Warringah in the grand final played at No.1 Oval on Saturday.
The Students led 15-10 at half-time and dominated the second half to run out comfortable winners for their inaugural title to go with their inaugural minor premiership.
Halfback Saryaneh Hayati, winger Layo Aronorie and outside-centre Gwendy De Decker scored tries for the Students, while five-eighth Kelly Ducker landed a conversion and two penalty goals to steer the Students home.
The team was captained by Jai Thomson and coached by Pat Cunningham.
At the post-match awards, flanker Sally Carter was named best forward for 2010, De Decker  was named best back, and number eight Dani Cornican was named most improved player for the season. Inside-centre Sarah Jean was the referee’s player of the grand final.
The team will have a week off before resuming training to contest Sevens tournaments on the Central Coast and Byron Bay during October.
Meanwhile, two members of Sydney University Women’s Rugby Club are in the 26-strong Australian Wallaroos squad that has made the semi-finals of the 2010 Women’s Rugby World Cup being played in England.
Alex Hargreaves and Ashleigh Hewson are in the squad that will England in the semi-final on Wednesday (AEST). The team is coached by former Sydney University Football Club frontrower, John Manenti.
Hargreaves is one of five members of the squad who played in the Australian team that won the inaugural World Sevens tournament in Dubai last March.
Should the Wallaroos account for England in the semi-final they will be on target to become the first nation to unite the Sevens and 15-a-side Rugby World Cup titles.
Hargreaves was chuffed to be selected in the squad. “I’m always happy to play for my country,” she said. “In 2009, I was part of the Australian team that won the inaugural women’s Sevens World Cup in Dubai.
“It would be really good if we could also win the women’s Rugby World Cup. Although, we do have New Zealand in our draw, so it will be interesting to see how we go against the number one team in the world.”
Coach Manenti is confident of the Wallaroos’ chances. “At the last World Cup in ’06 we had 10 standout players and the rest were working really hard to catch up,” Manenti said. “This time around we have 30 who could have made the squad and everyone in the squad is capable of starting.”
The 2010 Women’s Rugby World Cup will be the sixth time teams from around the globe have battled for the title, although it is only the fourth occasion in which Australia has competed. The Wallaroos finished fifth in 1998 and 2002 and seventh at the 2006 World Cup in Canada, where New Zealand beat England in the decider and France finished third.
Sydney Women’s competition – Grand Final
First Grade: Sydney University 23 (Saryaneh Hayati, Layo Aronorie, Gwendy De Decker tries; Kelly Ducker goal, 2 pen goals) d Warringah 10 at Sydney University No.1 Oval.