Australia have started their HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series 2018 campaign with an emphatic 34-0 Cup final win over USA in Dubai.
The series runners-up from 2016-17 and Olympic gold medallists produced a dominant display of flowing rugby to dazzle the packed-out stands at the series opener and achieve their first tournament win since Atlanta in 2016.
USA looked in fine fettle after their shock 14-12 Cup quarter-final win over series champions New Zealand, but it was a one-sided affair in the final as Australia ran in six tries to top the standings.
It was Australia’s first win in Dubai since 2015, having lost out to New Zealand last year, and co-captain Sharni Williams was happy with her side’s performance.
“We’re absolutely ecstatic with that win. It’s been a long time coming since that last gold medal,” she said. “The girls have worked extremely hard in the pre-season and it’s great to get the rewards for that.”
HSBC Player of the Final Emma Tonegato opened the scoring after a beautiful bit of interlinking play with Charlotte Caslick and Emilee Cherry. Williams followed up with a clever break down the left for Australia’s second, which was soon added to by Dream Team member Evania Pelite.
In the second half, Cherry ran in an easy try after the ball spilled out on the 22-metre line, and then set up Dominque du Toit for their fifth try. Du Toit rounded off the game with a clean break through the middle of the USA defence.
Australia will head into the next round of the series in Sydney on 26-28 January, buoyed by their result in Dubai but also one step closer to a strong seeding at Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 in San Francisco. The seedings will be based on the 2016-17 series points combined with the first two rounds of the 2018 series.
Russia finished third after beating Canada 10-5 in the bronze final, while Ireland lifted the Challenge Trophy after a 24-7 defeat of South Africa.