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'It's horrible': France shock Australia in Sydney Sevens quarters

By Finn Morton
(Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Reigning World Series champions Australia are out of the Sydney Sevens after being beaten 5-10 by France in the first women’s quarterfinal at Allianz Stadium.


It might go down in history as the biggest upset of this year’s tournament.

Nobody would’ve seen this coming, except for maybe the French players and their supporters; they clearly believed that they could silence the Sydney crowd with an incredible upset.

And they did.

After a tense start to the sudden death thriller, World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year Charlotte Caslick was shown a yellow card for a high tackle.

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France made the most of their one player advantage, as Chloe Pelle broke the deadlock shortly after in the seventh minute.

While they were only up 5-nil at the time, Australian rugby fans may have begun to fear the worst once Carla Neisen crossed for Les Bleus.

The women in gold were able to hit back with a late try to Faith Nathan, which breathed new life in the vibrant Sydney crowd – but the comeback wasn’t meant to be.

France had won the day, had stolen the show, and they had stunned the world.

Head Coach Tim Walsh said it feels “horrible” to lose at home, as he reflected on France’s defensive effort and how that brought an end to the home sides Sydney Sevens ambitions.


“It’s horrible. Losing is not the greatest feeling in the world and particularly at home, Walsh told reporters.

“They defended really well, I thought they deserved to win the game,” he added later.

“They certainly shut us down and we couldn’t get going.

“I can’t fault the way that the girls had a crack. A couple of things, the bounce of the ball sometimes and it can be a different game.

“In that last place, she put the kick on the dime, we got it back, so we gave ourselves every chance to at least walk away (with a result).”


The quarterfinal shock could also have major ramifications on Australia’s World Series ambitions, as New Zealand move on to the semi-finals after beating Japan.


The Black Ferns Sevens were already four points clear of the Australians on the World Series standings, but this result could see even more daylight separate the fierce rivals.

“It’ll probably put us a bit behind (on the World Series).

“We can start experimenting and making sure that we’re building up for next year and going into the Olympic year, but we’ve got to qualify, that’s the major thing.

“Creep up as far as we can on the World Series.”

While the Australian players were clearly disappointed after the full-time whistle has sounded, Walsh insisted that it “won’t be hard” to motivate them ahead of Day Three.


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Shaylen 4 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

These guys will be utility players Nick it cannot be helped because coaches cannot help themselves. Rassie looks at players like these and sees the ability to cover multiple positions without losing much. It allows the 6-2 or 7-1. He wont change his coaching style or strategy for one player. At provincial level players like these are indispensable. If there is an injury to your starting 12 but your back up 12 is a bit iffy then a coach is going to go with the back up 10 who is gold and who can play a good 12. Damian Willemse for the Springboks is an obvious case, for the Stormers its the same. Dobson plays him at 12 or 15, with Gelant in the team he plays 12 but if Gelant goes down he doesnt go for his back up 15, he just puts Willemse there. With Frawley its the same at international and provincial level. He just slots in wherever. Frans Steyn made a career out of it. He was much maligned though as a youngster as he never fully developed into any role. He then went to Japan and France to decide for himself what kind of player he was, put on muscle and retained his big boot, ran over players and booted the ball long and came back into the Springboks after about 3 years away and was then certain about how he wanted to play the game no matter what position. Coaches cannot help themselves because they only want what is best for their teams and that means putting your most talented players on even if it means you cause them some discomfort. Sometimes players need to decide how they want to play the game and then adapt that to every position and let the coach decide how they want to use them.

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Jon 9 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

I think the main problem here is the structure of both countries make up. They are going to have very similar.. obstacles(not problems). It will just be part of the evolution of their rugby and they’ll need to find a way to make this versatility more advantageous than specialization. I think South Africa are well on the way to that end already, but Ireland are more likely to have a hierarchical approach and move players around the provinces. Ioane is going to be more than good enough to lock up one of those available positions for more than a few years I believe though. Morgan would definitely be a more long term outlook. Sacha to me has the natural footwork of a second five. Not everything is about winning, if a team has 3 players that want to play 10s just give them all a good go even if its to the detriment of everyone, this is also about dreams of the players, not just the fans. This is exactly how it would be in an amateur club setting. Ultimately some players just aren’t suited to any one position. The example was of a guy that had size and speed, enough pace to burn, power to drive, and speed to kick and pass long, but just not much else when it came to actual rugby (that matched it). New Zealand has it’s own example with Jordie Barrett and probably shows what Reece Hodge could have been if the game in Australia had any administration. Despite the bigger abundance of talent in NZ, Jordie was provided with consistent time as a fullback, before being ushered in as a second five. Possibly this was due to his blood, and another might not have been as fortunate, but it is what it was, a complete contrast to how Hodge was used in Australia, were he could have had any position he wanted. When it comes down to it though, much like these young fellas, it will be about what they want, and I think you’ll find they’ll be like Hodge and just want to be as valuable to the team as they can and play wherever. It’s not like 63 International Cap is a hard thing to live with as a result of that decision!

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