Canada lift trophy on day of shocks in Sydney

Canada win the second round of the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series in Sydney.

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Canada raised the HSBC Sydney Sevens trophy aloft on Saturday after a day of upsets in the summer sun.

The Canadians beat rivals USA 21-17 to claim their third tournament win, in front of a packed house at the Allianz Stadium.

USA, who finished the last tournament in Dubai in 11th place, shocked New Zealand to reach the final, while Canada silenced the Allianz Stadium when they beat Australia 12-7 in the second semi-final of the day.

Meanwhile, on a day of shock results, Brazil beat England 17-12 to claim the Challenge Trophy as New Zealand went on to beat their rivals Australia to claim the bronze medal on Saturday.

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Player of the Final Naya Tapper opened the scoring for USA against Canada before Brittany Benn hit back to level matters. Charity Williams showed a clean pair of heels to the American defence to score under the posts before the break. In the second half, Canada exerted their dominance and despite another two tries from Tapper to complete a remarkable hat-trick, a converted Bianca Farella try made the difference and Canada walked away with the Sydney Sevens trophy.

Captain Ghislaine Landry was elated after the win: “USA had a great tournament so we knew they were going to show up for that game. We worked hard for the win. Defence won us that game – we slipped off a little bit at times – but I’m super proud of the girls.”

Coach John Tait was happy to get back on track after a relatively poor showing in Dubai.

“I’m just really happy for the girls to rebound. Jen Kish and Britt Benn had a great game in the contact area. So yeah, overall, I’m pretty happy with that!”

The final concluded a thrilling day of women’s rugby at the Allianz Stadium and Kippax Field.

Semi-finals

While Wales had upset Fiji earlier during the men’s tournament, no one in Sydney was prepared for the shocks that were to follow during the women’s semis.

New Zealand took to the field to take on a USA side that have finally found their rhythm under coach Richie Walker. Led by the diminutive Alev Layla Kelter, the Americans went toe-to-toe with the former series champions.

Kelter scored all 12 points in the first half while Naya Tapper scored in the second period to open the gap to 19 points. Katarina Whata-Simpkins scored for the Kiwis but a sin-binning for star striker Portia Woodman didn’t help their cause. A try from Tyla Nathan-Wong acted as a consolation as USA progressed to the final, and a chance to win their first tournament title.

Speaking afterwards, Kelly Griffin said: “That was tough, we know New Zealand are one of the top teams. We decided to come out and play our game and fortunately today the ball bounced our way. We just have to stay the course for the final, and take it like any other game.”

The crowd were on their feet as Australia ran out alongside Canada for the second semi-final. And while the atmosphere was electric, it was soon to deflate as Canada bossed the match and dominated in attack and defence. Ellia Green, who impressed the crowds with tremendous pace all weekend, opened the scoring but Canada came back with a try from dream-team pick Kish. The bubble burst for the Australians as Benn went over late in the first half to make it 12-7 to the Canadians, and the result remained to the final whistle.

Australia’s Shannon Parry said afterwards: “We gave them too much ball, and you can’t afford to do that against a side like Canada. (We have) no excuses. It has been a phenomenal crowd and we are very thankful for it.”

Quarter-finals

The quarter-finals kicked off the women’s action at the Kippax Field on Saturday as New Zealand took on France in a repeat of the Pool A match from day one.

The French were first to score as Rose Thomas went over in the corner but New Zealand crossed for four unanswered tries from Katarina Whata-Simpkins, Portia Woodman, Michaela Blyde and Niall Williams to finish with a convincing 24-5 win.

USA and Ireland traded tries through Tapper and Amee Leigh Murphy-Crowe in the first half before Leyla Kelter and Tapper again crossed the line for the Americans, to see them win 17-5 and set up a semi-final clash with New Zealand.

A large and noisy crowd gathered around the Kippax Field to see hosts Australia take on Fiji. The home team had to work hard to create tries for Green and Caslick as Australia took the momentum, before Merewai Cumu crossed to halve the lead. It took the experience of captain Williams to put the game beyond doubt and seal a hard-fought 17-5 victory.

Russia were full of confidence following an undefeated opening day, however the Canada opened up a 19 point lead through Kayla Moleschi in the last quarter-final. Ghislaine Landry and Bianca Farella also scored before Alena Mikhaltsova crossed for Russia’s first points. Farella crossed for her second to put the result beyond doubt and seal a 26-5 win, setting up a mouth-watering semi-final with Australia.

Elsewhere on day two of the women’s tournament, Brazil won their first Challenge Trophy beating England 17-12 to claim their first Challenge Trophy.

The series now moves with the men’s to Las Vegas where the action kicks-off on from 3-5 March, 2017.


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