Australia and New Zealand played out yet another thrilling final in Dubai as the Black Ferns Sevens claimed the first round of the 2016-17 HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series.
In front of a packed house at 7he Sevens Stadium, New Zealand took revenge for their Olympic final defeat, dominating their rivals to win 17-5.
Australia battled to the end of the 14 minute final, but tries from Portia Woodman and two from Rebekah Cordero-Tufuga saw the Kiwis collect the gold medal and the Dubai Sevens Cup. Kelly Brazier was named HSBC Player of the Final.
The victory was especially sweet for new coach Allan Bunting, who said: “We’re pretty stoked with that win. It’s been a while since we got a win over Australia and i’m sure they’ll go away and come back a lot stronger as a result of that match.
“We always go out to win but we’re still learning a lot. Most importantly the girls went out and played with heart.”
Meanwhile, Russia and England faced off in the battle for third-place, with Russia claiming the bronze medal with an impressive display. In the inaugural Challenge Trophy, which replaced the former Bowl and Plate competitions, tries from Megan Williams and Lucy Mulhall helped Ireland seal a 14-12 win over a resilient Spanish side.
The HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series heads to Sydney in February with New Zealand leading the standings.