The Qantas Australian Women’s Sevens have missed out on claiming back-to-back Sydney 7s crowns following a 32-10 defeat to New Zealand in the Cup Final at Spotless Stadium.
New Zealand were never truly threatened on their way to extending their record 48 match unbeaten run as Australia fell away in front of a sell-out home crowd.
Australia beat Ireland 24-12 in their Cup Semi-Final earlier on the final day as star woman Ellia Green chalked up her 100th HSBC Sevens World Series try on her way to a hat-trick against a plucky Irish side.
Qantas Australian Women’s Sevens coach John Manenti said: “You don’t want to be chasing the game against them too much and unfortunately, during that yellow card, they scored two tries while that happened.
“Obviously that gave them a bit of breathing space and once you start chasing, you need everything to stick and go to hand and it just didn’t quite. There were a few bobble balls that bounced left instead of right but full credit to them, they are a good outfit and they don’t give you too many chances.
“I’m disappointed for the girls as they worked really hard and showed some good improvement over the weekend and certainly from Colorado and Dubai but we’re just going to keep working harder and keep chasing them,” Manenti said.
Australia now climb to joint third on the 2018/19 HSBC Sevens World Series standings with three rounds left to play in Kitakyushu, Langford and Biarritz.
Australia 24 defeated Ireland 12
A first HSBC Sevens World Series Semi-Final for Ireland and they tried to slow down the game early against the defending Sydney 7s Champions. A turnover at the breakdown gave Evania Pelite the chance to break away and send Ellia Green streaking down the right flank to open Australia’s account. Green had a double soon after thanks to a sharp restart by Australia off the kick-off to make it 14-nil. Emma Tonegato finished off a superb half by the hosts after she scored out wide for a 19-nil lead at the break.
Ireland got one back early in the second half as Amme Leigh Murphy Crowe narrowed the margin to 14 points as the visitors started to make the most of field position and possession. Murphy Crowe had a double moments later with Australia unable to exit their own half and Ireland made the defending champions pay. Some strong Australian defence kept Ireland from levelling the score and the ball was spread wide for Ellia ‘Green Machine’ Green to sprint 80 metres to score and close off the contest 24-12.
Australia 10 defeated by New Zealand 32
Spotless Stadium packed out for the two great rivals to square off in another HSBC Sevens World Series final but it was New Zealand who enjoyed the brighter start against the defending Sydney 7s champions. The Kiwis scored out wide despite a somewhat controversial dropped ball in the lead-up but a magical moment from Emma Sykes gave Australia the perfect response as the playmaker chipped over the defence to regather and score beside the posts to level the scores. It was all New Zealand after that though with two tries, including one after the half-time siren, to give the visitors a 17-5 lead at the break.
Michaela Blyde kept the foot on Australia’s throat with a superb 70 metre break down the left flank to push the margin out to 19 before Sykes responded with another solo effort of her own for Australia. Stacey Waaka finished off a well-worked set-piece move for New Zealand but the final try was left for Blyde, who completed her hat-trick in the 32-10 rout.