The Australian Youth Olympic Rugby Sevens girls team made it four wins from four with two sensational displays today (Tuesday) to secure a semi-final spot in Nanjing, China.
The green and gold brushed aside the United States 38-0 in the morning session before taking apart Spain (39-0) in a scintillating second half performance that left National Women’s Head Coach Tim Walsh comparing this team to the senior Women’s side.
“That second half against the Spanish was fantastic. There were some classic tries in there that were reminiscent of the full national team. I was very pleased to see the girls keep the opposition to zero and nobody crossing our line today.”
Walsh added: “We’re mixing the squad up well and all of the team are contributing. I am particularly impressed with the composure of [Caitlin] Moran, the power running from [Tayla] Stanford, the continued improved of [Shenae] Ciesiolka and the leadership from our co-captains Tiana Penitani and Brooke Anderson.”
Kellie Gibson and Tayla Stanford gave Australia a half-time lead after a tight first period which saw Spain have plenty of the ball in attacking areas. However, in the second half the Aussies really turned it on with some free-flowing, running Rugby to dismantle their opponents. Mackenzie Sadler, Tiana Penitani, Dom du Toit, Stanford again and Brooke Anderson all crossed the white line to seal the win.
Australia had earlier seen off the challenge of the USA. Tries from Tayla Stanford, a solo effort from co-captain Brooke Anderson and Dom du Toit gave the Aussies a 21-0 lead at half-time. Shenae Ciesiolka, Stanford again and Raecene McGregor added further scores in the second half to run out 38-0 winners.
Tayla Stanford, from Bunyan in New South Wales, said: “It’s very exciting. It didn’t feel real to begin with, but then after I scored it I felt pretty hyped up and it got me through the rest of the game which was good.
“We played really well - we’re improving each game which is very good for us. We’re starting to gel really well as a team so we can only go up from here. It was just really fun. I really enjoyed the games - it feels good scoring tries.”
Australia rounds off the pool stages tomorrow morning when they play a talented Canadian side before heading to the Semi-Finals in the evening session, where they will likely play Spain once again for a spot in the Gold medal match.
Current standings (after four matches): 1. Australia 12pts, 2. China 10pts, 3. Canada 10pts, 4. Spain 7pts, 5. United States 5pts, 6. Tunisia 4pts
The 2014 Australian Women’s Youth Olympic Rugby Sevens results and fixtures in Nanjing, China on 17-20 August 2014:
Australia 33-0 Tunisia
Australia 15-12 China
Australia 38-0 USA
Australia 39-0 Spain
Australia v Canada (Midday AEST, 19 August)
Semi-Final Matches (from 7pm AEST, 19 August)
Medal Matches (from 11am AEST, 20 August)