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Australia women set for blockbuster final against arch-rivals New Zealand

By Finn Morton
Australia players celebrate after the women's cup semifinal match victory over France during day three of the HSBC SVNS Singapore at the National Stadium on May 05, 2024 in Singapore. (Photo by Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images)

One Australia team will challenge for Cup final glory in Singapore with the women’s side sneaking by France in a semi-final thriller, but the men will fight it out for bronze after falling to arch-rival New Zealand on Sunday.

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Without Olympic gold medallists Charlotte Caslick and Sharni Smale, as well as rising stars Bienne Terita and Alysia Lefau-Fakaosilea, the Aussie women’s side have qualified for their first decider since the Los Angeles Sevens in early March.

Australia were practically flawless during three eye-catching wins in pool play with younger players stepping up and having their voices heard. The women in gold beat Brazil and Great Britain, but a 60-nil win over Fiji was particularly a statement.

The Aussies continued to impress in the knockout rounds with a 24-14 win over SVNS Perth champions Ireland in Saturday’s quarter-final, and they backed that effort up with a hard-fought victory over Series rivals France.

Montserrat Amedee scored the first points of the contest in just the second minute for Les Bleues Sevens, but the French wouldn’t score again until Lou Noel’s effort late in the second half. It was a tense battle that could’ve gone either way.

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Try-scoring machine Maddison Levi and Faith Nathan contributed for the Aussies who were locked at 12-all with time practically up on the clock, and it was the in-form Nathan who once again shone to snatch it at the death.

“Don’t get tackled and just score the fr***ing try,” Nathan told RugbyPass with a laugh when asked about what she thought as she ran away for the long-range match-winner.

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The Aussies will take on arch-rivals New Zealand in a blockbuster Cup final later on Sunday, with the winner set to be crowned the SVNS Series’ League Winners at the Singaporean venue.

New Zealand booked their spot in the decider with a somewhat emphatic 33-22 win over a valiant Fiji outfit, and considering they’ve won the last three Cup finals this season, the Kiwis certainly present a tough challenge.

“It’s always unreal playing against the Black Ferns. They’re so fr***ing strong,” Nathan explained.

“But just to see our players develop as young players because we’re a fresh kind of squad not having our older girls here.

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“Playing against France is never easy, it’s always a tough battle against us too, but it’s good to get that win.”

As for the men’s team, who are missing injured duo Henry Patterson and Teddy Wilson, as well as James Turner who has returned home for the birth of his child, they fought tough but pulled up short against a familiar foe on Sunday.

The Aussies had lost to the All Blacks Sevens in pool play, but after sneaking by South Africa in a golden-point thriller on Saturday evening, they would have a chance to make amends in a blockbuster Trans-Tasman semi-final.

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Nathan Lawson scored the first points of the contest in the third minute but it was practically all New Zealand from there with Kitiona Vai and Fehi Fineanganofo scoring.

Playmaker Dietrich Roache hit back just after Fineanganofo’s effort, but another All Blacks Sevens try to Brady Rush sent the  Aussies packing. They’ll face a motivated Great Britain outfit in the final men’s third-placed playoff in the regular season.

Catch up on all the latest SVNS Series action from the 2023/24 season on RugbyPass TV. SVNS Singapore is live and free to watch, all you need to do is sign up HERE.

The Women's Rugby World Cup 2025 is coming to England. Register now here to be the first to hear about tickets.

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