SYDNEY, AUS – The second tournament of the 2016/2017 World Rugby HSBC Women’s Sevens Series was one to remember. There were several upsets led by the @USAWomens7s, who knocked off two heavyweights and almost third. For the rest of the world, Canada upset the host and defending champions Australia as they claimed the title for this leg.
Eating Crow courtesy of @USAWomens7s:
It is a bit gamey but eating crow is not so bad. Especially as I had picked the USA to perform poorly in Sydney as they did in Dubai in our tournament preview. The Eagles 7s had a poor performance in Dubai and started out day one in Sydney as if it would be more of the same. Despite a brace of tries by player of the tournament Naya Tapper, the USA were outworked by tough Russia side and lost 19-10. It didn’t look good and yours truly was looking like a clairvoyant. However, in their next match against a top side in England, the USA got down to the business of winning every collision and key moment in the match as they shocked on-lookers with a solid performance and a 22-14 win. Next up for the USA came the always unpredictable and cagey Spain. So now the USA had to prove that they were the team that beat England and not the team that lost to Russia against a Spanish side that was having one of its bad days. The USA wasted no time and dominated from start to finish to win 20-5. The USA had booked its ticket to the cup quarterfinals.
Day Two began with the Eagles avenging one of their shocking losses from Dubai. The Eagles took on Ireland and this time they looked far more in control of themselves and the match as they won 17-5. This now set-up a big semi-final match-up with the powerhouse New Zealand Black Ferns. The smart money was on the Black Ferns but the Eagles started the match like a house on fire and were up 12-0 by halftime. The Eagles added another try after the start of the second half but the Black Ferns never go quietly and they fought to the very end but the Eagles emerged 19-12 winners. The USA was now in the final against their longtime rival, Canada.
The final was an instant classic. Despite Tapper scoring a hat-trick to help the USA keep pace it would not be enough as Canada’s team play helped to a 21-17 win. Equal amount of tries but the placement for the conversions appeared to be the difference in the match.
Marvelous Canadian Maple Leafs:
Despite the tournament being in the South Pacific ocean area, Sydney proved to be a great day for the North American sides. The Canadians won their first two games on Day before closing big to New Zealand. 7s is a funny game because on Day 2 they they beat, France somehow managed to kepp composed and defeat Australia in Australia. They then camped it off by defeating the USA and winning the title. The Aussies would battle the Kiwis for 3rd place and it seems that the Aussies, just didn’t have it in them as the Black Ferns won third place.
The battle for fifth place went to a Fijian side that is trying to become consistent in their push to be the best second tier side on the Women’s circuit. Seventh place went to Russia who managed to regroup after a poor day two that say them struggle to compete with higher ranked sides. Brazil surprised everyone against England, who were very poor and clearly showing signs of strain from competing for a 7s crown the same weekend as the Women’s 6 Nations. The upset for Brazil meant they got to claim the Challenge Trophy.
Final standings will be
Third: New Zealand
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And as always, stay low and keep pumping those legs.