Aussie 7s fall in Cup Final, claim valuable Series points for Olympic qualification

· Womens-Langford
by Rugby Australia
The Qantas Australian Women’s Sevens team has fallen in the Cup Final of the HSBC Canada 7s to New Zealand, 17-21 but secured vital Series points in the battle to secure automatic qualification for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Australia second silver medal performance of the season see the Aussies hold onto fourth position on the HSBC Women’s Sevens World Series ladder on 74 points. Importantly Australia has extended its lead over France (60 points) and chased down Canada (78 points) and USA (80 points).

New Zealand are on top of the HSBC Women’s Sevens World Series ladder on 92 points.

The top four teams at the conclusion of the Series earn automatic qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The final round of the Series will take place in Biarritz in the South of France.

Qantas Australian Women’s Sevens Head Coach John Manenti said: “I’m really proud of our squad’s efforts across the three matches today.

“We had three tough games and were tested by Russia and France on the way to playing in the Cup Final.

“I was really impressed with how we adapted in differing situations when we were tested, and the team found ways to get over the line when required.

“The Final against New Zealand was really tough, but we showed that we can test New Zealand across the park. New Zealand showed their class once again in the Final and deserve their victory.

“Ellia Green was a standout in the Final and she showed aggression, physicality, her speed and focus in a real stand out performance in the gold jersey.

“Across the two days Charlotte Caslick and Emma Tonegato played really well in the gold jersey and led from the front.

“We showed in Canada that this team is really heading in the right direction and we have claimed some valuable Series points.”

Australia 31 defeated Russia 12

The Qantas Australian Women’s Sevens team were to face Russia in the quarter finals and Russia’s bruising defence tested the Aussie Sevens. Australia hammered Russia but some mistimed passes prevented Australia from scoring from the opening exchanges. Russia struck first in the third minute with a well worked team try to take a 0-5 lead. Australian co-captain Sharni Williams was the first to cross the white line for the Aussies in the fifth minute that allowed the Aussie7s to start to exercise scoreboard control.

The second half saw tries to Ellia Green, Charlotte Caslick, Sariah Paki and Emma Tonegato move Australian into a commanding position as the Aussie 7s demonstrated their skills. A late consolation try to Russia stemmed the flow, but it would be the women in gold advancing to the Semi Final with a 31-12 victory.

Australia 26 defeated France 19

With France in fifth on the HSBC Sevens World Series ladder and Australia fourth heading into this round, victory against France was crucial for the Aussies in the battle for Series position. Australia started well with an opportunistic try to Samantha Treherne off the kick off that gifted the Aussies a 7-0 lead. France struck back quickly with a try to Grassineau to lower the gap to 7-5. A focused Aussie 7s continued to ply their trade, to put Emma Tonegato over for her first of try of the semi-finals. A third try just before the break, saw Australia take a commanding 21-7 lead at the break.

France came out firing in the second half and moved quickly on the ball to pressure Australia at the breakdown. It was the Aussie who scored first though in the second half, with Emma Tonegato getting a brace to create a healthy gap on France. A late French try to Drouin gave the Europeans a sniff of victory but Australia had done enough to hold on for 19-26 win, progressing Australia to the Cup Final for the first time since the HSBC Sydney 7s.

Australia 17 was defeated by New Zealand 21

In the opening exchanges New Zealand had all the possession but a clutch rush up tackle from Ellia Green forced the mistake and allowed the Aussies to regather the ball. Pushing the ball out wide, Australia found Green in space, with the speedster opening the throttle to score the first try in the corner and take a 5-0 advantage. New Zealand struck back through a try to captain Sarah Hirini, who darted and weaved through some space in the middle of the field to score underneath the posts take the lead 5-7. New Zealand went over again with an excellent switch play creating space and allowed the Black Ferns to hold a 5-14 lead just before the break. The Aussies continued to fight and a strong run from Charlotte Caslick broke New Zealand’s line to put Emma Tonegato over for the Aussies second try, taking the score to 10-14 at half time.

The Black Ferns were the first to strike in the second half with Tyler Nathan Wong breaking through the line and extending New Zealand’s lead to 10-21. With New Zealand hammering them inside their own half Australia booted the ball down field allowing Ellia Green to chase and hammer the New Zealand defenders to force the error. New Zealand regained possession but being outmuscled by Australia physically were unable to move out of their own 22. A wayward pass saw a flying Ellia Green pounce on the loose ball and lower the gap to 17-21. From the restart saw New Zealand earned a scrum, allowing the Black Ferns to put the ball out and win the Canada Sevens.