PHILADELPHIA, PA – The victory for Australia in Dubai in the first Women’s 7s tournament of the season fits nicely into the narrative of the last 12 months. The fact that it was Russia they faced in the Cup Final is the big surprise of the tournament. Russia, Australia, and Fiji all finished 3-0 in pool play. For Russia, that included a 33-7 win over New Zealand.
Russia reached the Cup Finals through off loads, quickness, and their work at the breakdown. They handled Spain easily in their quarter final, 24-0, before defeating England with a try after the hooter in the semi-final. Russia won the contact area against England. They were able to make a number of important off loads and win a number of penalties and turnovers at the breakdown on the way to winning 19-12.
Australia reached the finals through their pace and width. In the quarter finals, they were down 5-12 to New Zealand at the half. However, their team speed in defense kept the Kiwis out of the try zone in the second half while their ability to move the ball wide quickly saw them add two tries of their own. Final score: Australia 15-12 over New Zealand.
In their semi-final, with the pace of the squad in general and extra gas coming from the likes of Ellia Green, France never had a chance. Australia over France, 26-0.
In the Cup Finals, it was the pace and width of Australia against the quickness and breakdown strength of Russia. The threat of Australia’s ability to move the ball quickly away from the tackle area kept the Russian defense looking wide rather than attacking the breakdown. Green was able to score a blazing try of her own and set up another as Australia pulled away in the second half. Australia were easily the best side of the tournament.
Australia over Russia in the final, 31-12.
Here are the highlights from Day 2.
Fiji’s success on Day 1 was a surprise. Beating Canada, who finished 2nd in the series last year, is a clear upset. Fiji’s dream start on Day 1 was followed by a loss to France in the Cup Quarter Finals. Strong defense from France and one mistake too many from Fiji saw France through to the Cup Semi-Finals. Meanwhile, Fiji had to face New Zealand in the Plate Semi-Final. New Zealand were too much for them, but Fiji did end the tournament with a win over Spain.
The other upset on Day 1 was newcomers Ireland beating USA. The USA were the under-performing team of the tournament. The USA lost to Japan in their first match on Day 2. That meant they played Ireland again in a match to determine 11th and 12th place in the 12 team tournament. Kristen Thomas was, by far, the most dangerous player for the USA this weekend.
The Canadian squad have a clear approach and play together. That’s good. The losses to England and New Zealand and Day 2 show they still need to add some variation to their attacking platform.
- Cup Winner: Australia
- Plate Winner: New Zealand
- Bowl Winner: Japan
And now the men move on to Cape Town while the women have to wait for February 20-21, 2016 for the next stop in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
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