The Qantas Australian Women’s Sevens have progressed through to the Cup Quarter-Finals on day one of the HSBC Sydney 7s at Spotless Stadium.
Australia knocked off Spain and China to start the day before an extremely tight tussle in the wet against USA proved too high a hurdle.
The defending Sydney 7s champions will now face France in a Cup Quarter-Final tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon with the Men’s matches to take centre stage in the morning session.
Qantas Australian Women’s Sevens coach John Manenti said: “We started the day well and we have put ourselves in a position that we’re going be playing tomorrow, and we know that day two is where the action happens.
“Obviously you want to win every game of footy that you play but there’s always good lessons when you don’t win. Importantly at this stage, the next game we play is make-or-break so we have to really aim up there.
“I think USA played the conditions well. They hammered us down in that first half and kicked deep and we couldn’t get out of there. Obviously with that greasy pill and our game, we like to shift the ball around and that didn’t really suit,” Manenti said.
‘Free Friday’ started with a bang at Spotless Stadium in Sydney Olympic Park with locals snapping up the opportunity to lap up HSBC Sevens World Series action.
Action will continue throughout the weekend with tickets starting from just $37 for a single day pass on Saturday and Sunday.
The three-day festival won’t just feature the Rugby action though with plenty of activities for the whole family around the Spotless Stadium precinct including a host of DJs, kid zones as well as food and drink areas.
Headline acts DJ Tigerlily, Tkay Maidza, L-Fresh The Lion and Yolanda Be Cool lead a field of talented musicians and DJs who will be performing across the weekend.
Australia 19 defeated Spain 0
It was a tight and nervy opening to Australia’s title defence as Spain’s aggressive start had John Manenti’s side on the back foot. Australia couldn’t kickstart their way into action in opening period with scores level at the break.
Ellia Green was quick to break the deadlock in the second half though, as Australia flung the ball wide and entrusted their strike player to finish it off with a blistering 50 metre burst down the wing. Australia broke Spain’s stubborn defence down again shortly after, as Emma Sykes burst through before Evania Pelite continued her strong recent form to make the final score 19-nil at full-time.
Australia 24 defeated China 7
Evania Pelite opened the scoring for Australia in the opening minutes after a scything run from deep in her own half. Alicia Quirk took a quick tap from a penalty of the ensuing kickoff and broke China’s line to extend Australia’s lead to 10-nil after just two minutes. China couldn’t force their way into the game and Australia capitalised, as Sharni Williams collected a nicely timed short ball off Pelite to score under the posts to make it 17-nil.
Ellia Green broke open the second half after a trademark run down the left edge to extend the lead to 24 before China hit back on the stroke of full-time thanks to Gu Yaoyao to make the score 24-7 at the final whistle.
Australia 12 defeated by USA 19
It was a bright opening for USA and their pressure soon told as Jordan Gray-Matyas found a gap in the Australian defence to dive under the posts to open a 7-nil lead. Kirstie Kirshe made it 14-nil for the USA shortly after, following a botched kick-off receipt by Australia. The USA onslaught continued as Australia couldn’t find a way to hold onto the ball and Naya Tapper made the most of the opportunity to extend the lead to 19-nil at the break.
The second half opened with an arm wrestle as Australia forced their way up field and finally made the pressure pay with just over two minutes to go, as Evania Pelite split the USA defence to score under the posts. Australia worked their way through the gears soon after and Emma Tonegato scored on the full-time siren to close the gap to just seven points. The referee blew the whistle for full-time after the attempted conversion though to deny Australia a chance to potentially collect the restart.