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Golden girls shine bright after Wallabies’ 'disappointing’ World Cup

By Finn Morton
Australia celebrate after winning the Cape Town SVNS final in December, 2023. Picture: World Rugby

The Wallabies’ disastrous Rugby World Cup campaign will never be forgotten. Having failed to make it past the pool stage for the first time, the Aussies were caught on the wrong side of history in France.

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But a group of golden girls are shining “a little bit of light” at the end of an otherwise dark tunnel for Australian rugby, with the Aussies going back at the Dubai and Cape Town SVNS this month.

Led by captain Charlotte Caslick and try-scoring machine Maddison Levi, the women in gold have bounced back from an underwhelming 2022/23 to take out the first two legs of the new campaign.

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Australia only conceded one try across six pool games at The Sevens Stadium and the Cape Town Stadium, but their dominance carried into day two on both occasions.

Reigning world champions New Zealand had their 41-game unbeaten run ended in the Dubai decider, and the Australians backed that up with a 29-26 win over France a week later.

With the men’s team also making the final in Cape Town, the SVNS teams are holding the torch for Australian rugby during a difficult period for the sport Down Under.

“Our Wallabies had a pretty disappointing Rugby World Cup campaign and rugby has been doing it pretty tough back home,” captain Charlotte Caslick told reporters in Cape Town.

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“This is hopefully a little bit of light for rugby fans back in Australia and hopefully they come out in Perth to support us.”

The Aussies’ 2023/24 season started eerily similar to their previous campaign. Last time out, the women in gold kicked off their quest for SVNS world glory with a cup final triumph in Dubai.

But that’s as good as things got. It was all New Zealand from there as the Black Ferns Sevens took out the Cape Town final and another five events on their way to World Series glory.

While a new season offers the opportunity to not quite right the wrongs from the year before, but rather to channel the lessons that the Aussies learnt – it was time for the team to put their growth into into practice.

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Following a long pre-season – with Demi Hayes telling RugbyPass that they “played nearly a whole World Series” – the Aussies have taken their game to an all-new level ahead of an Olympic year.

“We were talking a lot about back-to-back and we’ve never won in Cape Town on a World Series,” Caslick said.

“We love to play here so it was something that we’ve always spoken about, winning here, and I’m really proud of the girls doing it.

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“We made it pretty hard on ourselves but it’s probably one of our best wins ever.

“Just the courage the girls have to keep fighting for each other is something you can’t coach, it’s innate in them and they’ve got a lot of ticker in them these girls.

“I’m super proud of them.”

Tickets are on sale now for the next SVNS Series event in Perth which gets underway on January 26.

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