NZ 7s women drop final to Australia

By Campbell Burnes

New Zealand's Sara Goss. Photo / Getty Images.
New Zealand's Sara Goss. Photo / Getty Images.

Those Australians are too good... again.

At least in the women's sevens sphere. Australia beat New Zealand 24-19 in the Cup final of the Atlanta Sevens, and while that scoreline looks close, in truth Australia had control of the encounter by the time they had skipped to a 19-0 lead after just seven minutes.

New Zealand, who could only choose from 11 due to a Kelly Brazier injury, look as though they also badly missed Kayla McAlister and Huriana Manuel. Of course, one of their issues was that they could not get enough ball into the hands of prolific tryscorer Woodman, who cut a frustrated figure. She did not touch the ball on attack until the seventh minute.

For all that, Australia were hard to peg in the opening spell, with some clever switches of play and manipulation of the defence. They scored two breakout tries - to final MVP Charlotte Caslick and Alicia Quirk - while Emilee Cherry intercepted for their third.

Selica Winiata hit back for New Zealand at the halftime hooter, but it looked an uphill task.

New Zealand showed more intent in the second stanza, but still looked out of synch in attack. Woodman did post her 103rd series try with a strong burst from a long way out, but it was just too late when Winiata crossed for her second after captain Sarah Goss had carved a path up the middle.

Australia, with their third consecutive Cup win, take a 14-point lead into the fourth leg in Langford next weekend. They are on 60, while New Zealand (46) is two clear, in second place, of Canada.

Emma Tonegato of Australia, with 10 tries, was adjudged the tournament MVP.
England beat Canada 26-14 in the bronze playoff. In the semifinals earlier today, New Zealand defeated England 24-19 and France 24-7 in the quarters.

Australia 24 (Charlotte Caslick 2, Alicia Quirk, Emilee Cherry tries; Chloe Dalton 2 con) New Zealand 19 (Selica Winiata 2, Portia Woodman tries; Winiata 2 con) HT: 19-7

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