Deception Bay’s Australian Sevens Star Remains Unstoppable Despite Blatant Kick to the Head

Photo credit: Facebook/Vani Pelite

Evania (Vani) Pelite has proven herself worthy of competing in the Commonwealth Games after her incredible performance in the Sydney Sevens.

There is no stopping Australian sevens star Vani Pelite in performing well in every game she plays, not even a  kick in the head that required three stitches. Pelite has been under the radar for several years but her performance in their game against the Russians in the Sydney Sevens was a standout.

Photo credit: RUGBY.com.au

After taking a vicious kick to the head from Russian captain Alena Mikhaltsova, Pelite was still able to help Australia maintain their incredible defensive record in the 31-0 win. World Rugby, the sport’s governing body, cited the Russian and slapped an eight-game ban for the incident. Although the kick to her head didn’t seem intentional, authorities cited that it was reckless and unnecessary.

It may have been a bloody game for Pelite but the injury didn’t stop her from making a try-saving tackle to stop the Russian captain. Pelite said that at first, she was shocked and her teammates were worried but winning the game is more important.

Such passion for the game and incredible performance is what made her become one of the elite Australian Sevens players. Pelite is now set to represent Australia in the Commonwealth Games in Brisbane along with her Australian Sevens peers.

From Touch Football to the Australian Sevens

Photo credit: Facebook/Evania Pelite

Pelite has been playing (and excelling) in touch football since she was 12 years old. Her inspiration for joining the sport was older girls playing touch, particularly Emilee Cherry who is now her teammate in Australian Sevens. Pelite would watch the then 15-year-old Cherry and say “I want to be as good as Emilee Cherry.”

Pelite has an unusual story about how she started playing rugby sevens in 2012. She was steered into the Sevens by her family. After attending a tryout clinic put on by the Queensland Rugby Union (QRU), she was told about upcoming schools tournament.

After hearing the news, she went back to school and asked if she and her friends can play. However, she was told that they can only play if she can find 12 girls who would want to play. She went on recruiting in her school. Luckily, she managed to persuade 11 other players to play. Her unusual team, which consisted of a few touch footballers, gymnasts, and some dancers, represented St Columbans in Caboolture. They made it all the way to the finals in their first tournament.

In 2013, a big year for Pelite, she played for Australia at the Touch Football Trans-Tasman series and won gold at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival Rugby Sevens (AYOF). That was when she, at the age of 17, was discovered by Australian coach Tim Walsh.

By 2016, Pelite became a member of the Australian team that won Gold at the Rio Olympics in August 2016. She was able to score a try that gave her country the advantage in the final against New Zealand.

Being a Role Model

Photo credit: Facebook/Australian Womens 7s Team

Pelite grew up being inspired by fellow Rugby Sevens player Emily Cherry in her younger age. Now, she was the one being looked up to by younger girls aspiring to be Rugby Sevens player someday.

Pelite was a bit surprised when young girls came up to her at the Sydney event. She realised that it is now her turn to inspire the younger generation to get into the sport.

Event Schedules

Don’t miss the chance to see the first appearance of Pelite in the Commonwealth Games and watch how the Australian Sevens perform their unbeatable defence in the following schedules.

Women Pool Round – Pool B

Australia vs Wales

Friday, 13 April 2018

5:37 p.m.

Women Pool Round – Pool B

Australia vs England

Friday, 13 April 2018

8:17 p.m.

Women Pool Round – Pool B

Australia vs Fiji

Saturday, 14 April 2018

7:21 p.m.

 

The Rugby Sevens will be held at the Robina Stadium. Plan your route to the venue with the help of the official Journey Planner from the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.