Horan pleased with team's progress despite Dubai loss

Getty Images     30 Nov 2013     Getty Images

New Zealand raced to a 22-7 half time lead after crossing the line four times. But Australia surged back with four converted tries in the second half to take the first tournament of the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series.

Coach Sean Horan said the team took plenty of positives out of the performance.

“We got away to a lead, but couldn’t hold it. We made a couple of key decisions in the second half and let in some soft tries and they got their confidence up, we made some fundamental errors which cost us, but overall with the team we had, making the final and playing so well over the tournament I was really happy.

“It was always going to be a tough final. We had lost a few players from the World Cup and a few players were out of position and some players were coming back from long term injuries and hadn’t played any rugby whatsoever so I was really pleased and quite proud of the girls given what we achieved over the tournament.”

New Zealand went into the tournament without three key playmakers who were instrumental in the team’s inaugural World Series win last season and the World Cup triumph in Moscow – Portia Woodman, Kelly Brazier and Tyla Nathan-Wong.

“We took some young girls into this tournament so it’s all good experience for us. We are building for the Olympics, it’s not about top performances all the time in the World Series so there are a lot of valuable learnings we can take away from this tournament.

“This competition is getting tougher. There is a lot invested in every team now and the players are getting fitter, faster, stronger and that’s key for sevens. That’s the reality, just like the All Blacks Sevens, you can’t win every tournament, but it’s about consistency.”

Captain Huriana Manuel was named Player of the Tournament.

“For a captain to win that, it’s outstanding and she had a great tournament, continuing what she brought into the World Cup so that was another huge benefit for us.”

Full results can be found at here

The team next plays in Atlanta in the second leg of the series 15-16 February.

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