Australia defeats NZ Women's Sevens in Brazil7s Final

Marc Weakley     23 Feb 2014     Marc Weakley

The loss means New Zealand now shares the lead of IRB Women’s Sevens World Series with Australia on 56 points each, with Canada (48), Russia (40) and England (34) behind the leaders.

New Zealand never quite recovered after Australia struck twice in the first half with tries to Charlotte Caslick and Emma Tonegato. New Zealand went to the break behind 12 – 0 after spending much of the half in their own territory.

The half-time chat from Coach Sean Horan seemed to have had some affect as the New Zealanders found better space but it wasn’t long before Australia’s persistent contest at the breakdown saw them steal crucial ball off the deck, putting Emilee Cherry into space to score under the posts, stretching their lead to 17 – 0.

Known for their composure under pressure, the New Zealanders regrouped and put themselves back into the game with Taranaki’s 17-year-old Gayle Broughton cutting through defence for New Zealand’s first points.

Woodman, who had been starved of quality ball and space for most of the game, finally found a gap and with her trademark sidestep and fend, she dotted down under the posts to keep them in the running with 17 – 12 on the board.

But Australia’s attacking game again proved the difference, as they capitalised on New Zealand being penalised at the breakdown, putting Charlotte Caslick under the posts to secure the gold and greens win 24 – 12 on the final whistle.

Earlier in the day, New Zealand won their quarterfinal match 35 – 7 against the Netherlands, and they had to come from a 7 – 12 half time deficit to beat 21 – 17 Canada in their tight semifinal battle.

In their quarterfinal action, Kayla McAlister and Carla Hohepa both scored in the first half to lead the Netherlands 14 – 0 Their only reply was a sole try to Nicole Kwee, as Gayle Broughton, Tyla Nathan-Wong and Michaela Blyde all pitched in for the closing 35 – 7 tally.

Against Canada, Nathan-Wong scored first for New Zealand, but then back-to-back tries to Karen Paquin and Kayla Moleschi made it 12 - 7 at halftime to the North Americans.

In the second another try to Paquin had the Canadians excited, before tries to Broughton and Goss sealed the match 21-17.

The fourth tournament of World Series is in Guangzhou, China on 5 & 6 April.

Sao Paulo match schedule – 21 & 22 February (22 & 23 February NZT)
Venue: Arena Barueri, Barueri, Sao Paulo

21 February (Saturday 22 February NZT)
Full time: 36-0 v Ireland (HT 17-0)
Full time: 17-0 v USA (HT 7-0)
Full time: 21-14 v England (HT 7-7)

22 February (Sunday 23 February NZT)
Full time: 35-7 v Netherlands (HT 14-0)
Full time: 21-17 v Canada (HT 7-12)
Full time: 24-12 v Australia (HT 0-12)

The team for Atlanta and Sao Paulo tournaments:

Linda Itunu (Auckland)
Carla Hohepa (Auckland)
Hazel Tubic (Counties Manukau)
Jordan Webber (Waikato)
Sarah Goss (Manawatu)
Gayle Broughton (Taranaki)
Tyla Nathan Wong (Auckland)
Micheala Blyde (Taranaki)
Huriana Manuel (Auckland)
Selica Winiata (Manawatu)
Portia Woodman (Auckland)
Kayla McAlister (Auckland)

Unavailable for selection to due to injury/illness are:

Ruby Tui (knee)
Kelly Brazier (hip)
Vaine Grieg (knee)
Honey Hireme (illness)
Alexis Tapsell (concussion)

IRB Women’s Sevens World Series

2013/2014 standings: New Zealand 56, Australia 56, Canada 48, Russia 40, England 34, Spain 32, United States 24.

Dubai, UAE: 28, 29 November 2013 (won by Australia)
Atlanta, USA: 15, 16 February 2014 (won by NZ)
Sao Paulo, Brazil: 21, 22 February 2014 (won by Australia)
Guangzhou, China: 5, 6 April 2014
Amsterdam, Netherlands: 16, 17 May 2014