Awesome Aussie Sevens women complete astonishing comeback in London

by Staff Writer

The Qantas Australian Women's Sevens side has inched closer to automatic qualification for the Rio 2016 Olympics after completing an incredible fightback to win the inaugural London Sevens at Twickenham Stadium.

Trailing by two scores to an impressive Canadian outfit heading into the final five minutes - and a player in the sin-bin - the ladies in gold found another gear to turn the tie on its head. With the final play of the game, Ellia Green surged over on the left touchline to seal a 20-17 win that will live long in the memory.

Earlier in the day, Australia had beaten Spain (19-0) as well as series leaders New Zealand (24-5) in the Cup Semi-Final at the Twickenham Stoop.

Qantas Australian Women's Sevens Head Coach Tim Walsh said: "I'm so proud of the players and the way we performed in that Semi-Final and backed it up in the Cup Final. Game by game we progressed and just got better. Hopefully it's just another step to where we want to be.

"This had to be our best triumph for two reasons. Firstly, we have had a couple of tough tournaments in Atlanta and Canada which took a lot to come back from. Secondly, the quality of the Women's Series compared to even a year ago has improved so much."

On match winner Ellia Green, Walsh added: "She's a fantastic athlete who works hard at her game. Ellia is professional, she has an eccentric character but she is also intelligent."

Australia made a mockery of their recent Cup Quarter-Final travails after seeing off the challenge of Spain first up. Pressure finally told after incessant possession as Emilee Cherry fed Charlotte Caslick to dot down in the left hand corner. The roles were reversed just moments later as Caslick found the World Rugby Women's Sevens Player of the Year Cherry to give the Aussies a healthy lead at the break. The second half was a tighter affair, but Amy Turner scored just seconds after coming on as a replacement to race clear to put the seal on an impressive display.

Tim Walsh's charges turned the form book on its head in the Cup Semi-Final - a scintillating display of incisive attack and aggressive defence the perfect formula as Australia claimed a Cup Final berth. A fast start eventually saw skipper Sharni Williams out wide who crossed over to give the women in gold an early deserved lead. Australia's second try was one of the tries of the season. Quick hands from Emma Tonegato and impressive patience ultimately saw Alicia Quirk dot down under the posts. Australia capped a fine opening period as a strong run from Williams saw her offload to the supporting Charlotte Caslick to cross the whitewash. Inevitably it was try-scoring machine Portia Woodman who responded for the Kiwis but Ellia Green had the final say on the full-time siren with a scything run to score in the right corner.

In the Cup Final against Canada, Sharni Williams gave Australia an early lead only for Kayla Moleschi (2) and Ghislaine Landry to give the Maple Leafs a 17-5 lead. With Amy Turner in the sin-bin after being called for a high shot and four minutes left on the clock, time was running out. However, Charlotte Caslick gave the Aussies a glimmer of hope with three minutes left when she crossed over in the corner and Nicole Beck drew her side within two points in the final minute. Trailing by two points and in the final 40 seconds, Canada had the ball in their own 22 only to give away a penalty. From the resulting set-play, the ball was worked to Green who did the rest to the delight of the Australian squad.

In the 3rd/4th Place Play-Off, New Zealand defeated the USA while England won the Plate competition after beating France.

With just one round of the Women's Sevens World Series remaining in Amsterdam, Australia are second in the 2014/15 Women's Sevens World Series standings - ahead of Canada on points difference. New Zealand now have an unassailable lead at the top of the ladder and has claimed its third Women's Sevens World Series title in succession.

Qantas Australian Women’s Sevens results in London, England, 15-17 May:

Australia 15-5 Fiji, Pool C

Australia 31-0 China, Pool C

Australia 12-12 USA, Pool C

Australia 19-0 Spain, Cup Quarter-Final

Australia 24-5 New Zealand, Cup Semi-Final

Australia 20-17 Canada, Cup Final

Final placings for the London Sevens (Top 6): 1. Australia (20 World Series points), 2. Canada (18 points), 3. New Zealand (16 points), 4. USA (14 points), 5. Canada (12 points), 6. France (10 points)

Current standings in the 2014/15 World Rugby Women's Sevens World Series (top 6): 1. New Zealand (96 World Series points), 2. Australia (76 points), 3. Canada (76 points), 4. France (62 points), 5. USA (62 points), 6. England (60 points)

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