Rookie captain Skye Churchill hopes Australian stars Sharni Williams and Yasmin Meakes will set the standard for the University of Canberra's youthful side as they prepare to kickoff their Uni 7's campaign.
Churchill was unveiled as UC's captain on Wednesday, with the 19-year-old to take the reins ahead of the prominent Australian players.
The Australian representatives have been named for the opening round of the University Sevens Series but will have limited availability for future fixtures due to an international event.
Churchill, who captained the Canberra Royals to the grand final this year, is one of several emerging prospects who can use the Series to demonstrate their talent to Australian coaches ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.
She hopes Williams and Meakes will help "set the standard needed" for emerging prospects to push for an Australian jersey as they start their own preparation.
MORE CANBERRA SPORT
"Having Sharni and Yasmin coming back will let the players know what standard of footy they need to grab one of those jerseys," Churchill said.
"Pushing players like that will not only benefit our team but also give them something to strive for."
Brumbies players Rachel Crothers, Claudia Obst and Darcy Read will also bring experience to UC's side while six players will make their series debut.
Coach Liam McGrath has seen the group evolve enormously over the 25-week preseason and admits it was difficult to narrow down 24 players for the opening round.
"While they're young there's a lot of experience in terms of the high level they've played," McGrath said.
"A couple play in the junior national team, some have been in camps with that team and another group have been away with the Indigenous All Stars camp.
"The improvements they've made [over the preseason] have been unbelievable. We're in a position now where selections are really hard.
"When you throw Sharni and Yasmin into the mix too, it's a real opportunity for some of the younger players to play with two of the best."
The University of Canberra will kick off the first round against the University of Western Australia on Saturday, and will play the University of Queensland twice over the weekend.
The hosts have been lauded as "the team to beat" with Wallaroo Lori Cramer as captain and Australian Sevens players Haj Mosby and Cassie Staples named for the round.
"You want to test yourself against the best and they've been one of the most consistent teams in the Series," McGrath said.
"We're looking forward to testing and using them as a barometer to see how we're tracking moving forward."
UC SQUAD FOR ROUND ONE
1. Rachel Crothers 2. Skye Churchill (C) 3. Sharni Williams 4. Lily Murdoch 5. Yasmin Meakes 6. Lillyann Mason-Spice 7. Aroha Spillane 8. Ainsley Scrivener 9. Ella Ryan 10. Claudia Obst 11. Alahna Ryan 12. Darcy Read
UNI SEVENS ROUND ONE
Saturday: University of Canberra v UWA, 10.20am
University of Canberra v UTS, 12pm
University of Canberra v UNE, 2pm
University of Canberra v University of Queensland, 4pm
Sunday: University of Canberra v University of Queensland, 10am
*All at University of Queensland