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HomeNewsLocal teen captains Australian Schoolgirls Rugby to victory

Local teen captains Australian Schoolgirls Rugby to victory

Teenager Lili Boyle from Narrabeen Sports High has captained the Australian Schoolgirls Rugby Sevens team to a stunning victory in the inaugural Global Youth Sevens Tournament held on the Gold Coast this month.

Australian Schoolgirls Captain, Lili Boyle

The girls accounted comfortably for the Queensland Dragons, Cook Islands and Tonga in their pool rounds, then took out Canada in the Quarter-Final before winning a closely contested Semi against the strong Gold Coast Renegades team. In a hard-fought Final, they played New Zealand team RugbyVault Invitational and while the game was again close at some stages, the Aussie girls proved dominant when it counted, racing away to a 27-12 final victory.

Commentators at the tournament exhausted their list of superlatives in describing this team. Their spectacular end-to-end tries and never-say-die defense, was combined with overall grit and a cohesion not often seen at this level.  They dominated all areas of the field with power and speed that was simply too strong for their opposition.

Already a key member of the Senior Manly Mermaids squad, Lili, 18, is a Hooker and Power Forward with real promise. Along with several of her Australian Schoolgirls team mates, she’s freely tipped to graduate to senior representative honours and beyond. Other local stars selected for the tournament included Khyliah Gray from Northern Beaches Secondary College and shadow player Brooke Bosland from Pittwater House. Khylia was returning after injury and so didn’t play the big end of tournament games, but Lili says she still played an important role: “Khylia was still a key part of the team, constantly offering support and great advice to all the girls.”

Shalom Sauaso from Ipswich State High was awarded Player of the Tournament, while three Australian Schoolgirls – Castle Hill High’s Waiaria Ellis, Shalom and Lili herself – were selected in the All-Star ‘Dream Team’ at the end of the tournament.

In the beginning

Lili first got into Rugby at around age 12 or 13, because her brother was playing in a 15-a-side Comp. Lily played successfully in her brother’s team before trying Sevens a year later and enjoying it more.

The more she played, the better she became, quickly progressing through the Schools Pathways system. Her first rep jumper was for Sydney North in the public schools regional competition. She was then selected in the Combined Catholic Colleges and Combined High Schools 1st teams, before achieving selection in the NSW All-Schools rep. team.

After that came the Under 16 and Under 18 Australian Schools Merit teams, the Australian Schools Opens 7s Training Camp and finally the highest junior honour available – selection as a member of the Australian Schoolgirls Sevens Team. Her reputation preceded her and she was chosen to captain the side in the inaugural Global Youth Sevens tournament on the Gold Coast, earlier this month.

“It was an honour just to be selected in the side”, said Lili, “but to then be announced as Captain at the jersey presentation in the week leading up to the tournament… that was incredible.”

Such is her personality, she was quickly accepted by the other girls as their leader. “The whole team was happy for Lili to be appointed Captain”, said a team official, “and she led from the front in every game!” Many team members actually commented that they couldn’t have achieved their success without Lili at the helm.

Family member Karen Ohare said “Lili is normally such a shy, reserved girl… but the moment she crosses that line, she’s a tiger on the field.”

“It’s been a dream run so far,” says Lili. “Everyone at Narrabeen Sports was so supportive of me. I completed my HSC over two years because of my Rugby commitments, and the school was great, understanding my passion but still helping me achieve the best grades.”

And as for the experience of playing such a big tournament while representing her country… “It was just awesome,” said Lili. “The girls were all great and we really played as a team. But we had so much fun too. Before every match, we warmed up by doing ‘Zoomies’, which was a laugh, but also made us feel really connected.”

Lili’s game is built around defense and from all reports, she has a killer technique. “I just love tackling”, she says. “It’s my thing… my main focus and main contribution to the team.” Asked what she sees in her future, she answers honestly, “My family is encouraging me to consider other studies and while I’m sure I will go down that path, I’m not yet decided what form that will take. In the meantime my focus is squarely on seeing how far I can go in sport.

“I want to keep playing Rugby and represent Australia in Sevens at Senior Level… but of course with the huge progress in the NRLW, there are some great opportunities in Rugby League too. There are excellent pathways for development in League like the Tarsha Gale (U19s) competition. And of course, the Harvey Norman NSW Women’s Premiership is growing every year with the Sea Eagles fielding a team for the first time in 2024. So who knows what the future holds?”

The team photo from the Australian Schoolgirl Sevens website story celebrating their victory.

Who knows indeed… perhaps Lili will soon be emulating her namesake, dual-code international and two-time premiership winner, Millie Boyle (no relation) in the 13-a-side women’s game. Congratulations to Lili and the entire Australian Schoolgirls Rugby Sevens team for their inspiring win… like the Matildas before them, these young girls are further evidence of the exciting growth in Australian women’s sport.

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Manly Observer is an experiment in providing non-sensationalist hyperlocal news on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. We cover the big news across the LGA, but with a hyper focus on the Manly electorate encompassing Balgowlah, Seaforth, Freshwater, Brookvale and Curl Curl up to Dee Why. It is run by those living in the community for the benefit of an informed community. We care about an informed and connected community. That’s it. Simple. Thank you for your support in keeping quality local news alive!

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