Aussie rugby women roar to Sevens revenge
Australia’s women, inspired by returning veteran Sharni Williams, have taken ruthless revenge by dismantling Russia in the Seville Sevens and moving powerfully in sight of another world series triumph.
After they’d raced into the semi-finals, the Australian men followed suit later on Saturday (Sunday morning AEDT) by also reaching the last-four of their event with an impressive win over the USA.
Williams proved the women’s star, leading a merciless seven-try quarter-final demolition of a Russian side who’d ended the Australians’ 15-match winning streak just seven days earlier in Malaga.
“We put our bodies on the line, really proud of that effort,” said Charlotte Caslick, the player of the series so far who once again demonstrated why with a wonderful solo kick-and-chase try to complete the rout.
“It was great to play really well against Russia after last weekend.”
The Russians, with their smaller squad, looked a different, wearier outfit after having ended the Australians’ win streak 29-26 in Malaga.
And they couldn’t cope with the power and nous of 33-year-old Williams, captain of Australia’s 2016 Olympic gold-medal winning team, who finished off two slick moves for scores in the first four minutes.
Her second try, weaving past a couple of red shirts to race over, was the 56th of her distinguished career.
It sparked a deluge, with Alysia Lefau-Fakaosilea going over to make it 19-0 at halftime and scores from Madison Ashby, Teagan Levi, Dominique du Toit and Caslick after the break wrapping up a consummate display.
Earlier the Australians, who’d already qualified for the last-eight, had lost their final group match 12-10 against France, despite tries from Caslick and Faith Nathan.
They’ll next meet USA in Sunday’s semi-final with eyes firmly fixed on the prospect of a third world series title of the season following their back-to-back wins in Dubai in November and Decamber of last year.
Like the women, the Aussie men are out to improve on their third-place finish in Malaga, with three wins on a busy day promising much.
Corey Toole scored twice in a 19-7 win over Scotland, before they overpowered Canada 35-12 with tries from Dietrich Roache, Maurice Longbottom, Solomone Vosaicake, Yool Yool and Ben Dowling.
In the quarter-finals, they had to come from 14-5 down as the American star speedsters Carlin Isles and Perry Baker struck from deep following Chris Kuridrani’s opener.
But the Aussies then took control with tries from Nathan Lawson and Josh Turner sandwiching a dazzling and impudent score by the electric Longbottom, who nipped inside two challenges to run nearly the length of the field.
Their 29-14 victory sets up a semi-final with Argentina, while South Africa’s unbeaten streak showed no sign of ending as they beat Scotland 31-24 in their quarter-final.
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