New Zealand and Australia to resume rivalry in Kitakyushu

By the punter
Mar 05, 2017
  • New Zealand beat Australia twice in Las Vegas on their way to the gold medal. (Photo by David Kiania)

Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas: New Zealand and Australia will resume their rivalry in the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series on April 22 in Kitakyushu, Japan.

The Black Ferns are back to near vintage form after they beat Olympic champions Australia 28-5 in the final of the USA Sevens at Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas on Saturday.

They have a narrow five-point lead over Australia whom they beat twice in Las Vegas before the third leg of the Series.

New Zealand has 56 points and Australia 50. Canada (46), Fiji (36) and USA (34) complete the top five standings.

In Japan, New Zealand, Australia and Canada are likely to head the three pools. Probable pooling in Japan could be: Pool A - New Zealand, Russia, France, Japan; Pool B: Australia, Fiji, Ireland, Brazil; Pool C: Canada, USA, Spain, England.

On Saturday, the Black Ferns put the icing on the cake with a dominant display over Australia in the cup final. They were patient in the build up and led 14-0 at halftime.

The combination of Portia Woodman, Michaela Blyde and Ruby Tui unlocked Australia’s defence in a very physical final.

Woodman played as a forward in the USA Sevens away from her preferred position in the backs. This created a chance for Blyde and Tui to pace the opponents.

Tries by Tui, Tyla Nathan-Wong, Woodman and Alena Saili settled the final. Nathan-Wong added four conversions. Australia replied with a consolation try by Mahalia Murphy.

In the bronze medal playoff, Canada turned up the heat on hosts USA scoring five tries against one to win 31-7. They led 21-7 at halftime. Ghislaine Landry scored two tries and converted three for Canada.

Other try scorers were Brittany Benin, Natasha Watcham-Roy and Hannah Darling. USA replied with a try by Kristen Thomas which Leyla Alev Kelter converted.

Spain won the Challenge Trophy by beating England 10-0.

Before the next leg in Japan, Blyde leads the try scoring chart with 24 ahead of Russia’s Elena Zdrokova on 17 one ahead of Woodman. Emilee Cherry (Australia) and another Russian Alena Mikhaltsova have 15 each.

Nathan Wong is the top points scorer with 35, three ahead of Landry, the All Time top points scorer.

Results

Pool A: Canada 34 Russia 7, France 45 Argentina 7, Canada 38 Argentina 7, France 19 Russia 22, Canada 21 France 7, Russia 36 Argentina 0.

Pool B: USA 21 Ireland 24, Fiji 21 Spain 19, USA 22 Spain 7, Fiji 31 Ireland 5, USA 14 Fiji 7, Ireland 14 Spain 14.

Pool C: New Zealand 24 Brazil 0, Australia 31 England 14, New Zealand 27 England 5, Australia 38 Brazil 0, New Zealand 21 Australia 14, Brazil 0 England 12.

Cup quarterfinals: Canada 33 France 0, Fiji 7 Australia 22, USA 20 Ireland 12, New Zealand 26 Russia 5; Semifinals: Canada 17 Australia 26, USA 7 New Zealand 12; Final: Australia 5 New Zealand 28.

Playoff, Bronze: Canada 31 USA 7.

5th/6th semifinal: France 12 Fiji 15, Ireland 5 Russia 20; Final: Fiji 19 Russia 17.

7th/8th position playoff: France 15 Ireland 5.

Challenge Trophy semifinals: England 45 Argentina 7, Spain 19 Brazil 7; Final: England 0 Spain 10.

11th/12th place playoff: Argentina 0 Brazil 41.

Standings

New Zealand 56, Australia 50, Canada 46, Fiji 36, Russia 34, USA 34, France 26, England 20, Ireland 16, Spain 9, Brazil 7, South Africa 6, Argentina 1, Papua New Guinea 1.