The Qantas Australian Women’s Sevens team has reclaimed its position at the top of the IRB Women’s World Series standings after defeating New Zealand 24-12 in a pulsating Cup Final in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
It was reward for a weekend where the Aussies dominated each and every opponent – save for a few nervous moments against the World Champion Kiwi outfit – to secure a richly deserved 20 Series points.
Victorious skipper Sharni Williams said: “I’m ecstatic. We played well all tournament and to beat New Zealand in a tough physical game was a very satisfying. Our coach did a great job putting an effective plan in place for the wet and thankfully we were able to carry that out.”
Head Coach Tim Walsh added: “We deserved to win after the work the girls did over the weekend. They were outstanding in all facets of the game. The girls’ commitment to centralise in Sydney will only make this group stronger and hungrier for future success.”
In the Cup Final, Walsh’s side dominated the ruck from the off and made light work of the greasy conditions as Charlotte Caslick, Emma Tonegato and Emilee Cherry looked to have taken their country to within touching distance of the trophy. Cherry’s try was a classic, with slick interplay taking the girls the length of the pitch for the Roma-born winger to touch down under the posts.
But the New Zealanders aren’t World Champions for nothing and tries from Gayle Broughton and the influential Portia Woodman took them to within a score and looked to have the Aussies on the ropes midway through the second period. However, a quickly taken penalty released the tireless Caslick clear of the defence and secure a memorable win with the last play of the game.
Earlier, Australia comfortably defeated Japan (27-0) in the Cup Quarter-Final, before easily disposing of an error-laden England side (31-0) in the Cup Semi-Final at the Arena Barueri.
Emilee Cherry was awarded player of the tournament in Sao Paulo. Cherry scored 8 tries over the course of the weekend and played a pivotal role in the team’s performances throughout the tournament.
Australia (56 points) now leads the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series from New Zealand (also 56) by virtue of a better points differentiation throughout the Series to date. Canada sit third (48) with Russia fourth (40).
The series heads to China next, with the 50,000-seater Guangzhou University Town Stadium hosting the most talented Women’s Rugby Sevens players in the world from 5-6 April 2014.
Australian Women’s Sevens results in Sao Paulo, 22-23 February 2014:
- Australia 38-0 Argentina, Pool B
- Australia 24-7 China, Pool B
- Australia 34-0 Russia, Pool B
- Australia 27-0 Japan, Cup Quarter-Final
- Australia 31-0 England, Cup Semi-Final
- Australia 24-12 New Zealand, Cup Final
Image credit: IRB/Joao Neto @FotoJump