Tries galore in Vegas but the old enemy spoil the party

by Jill Scanlon

The Aussies have made it through the first day of the HSBC Women’s World Series in Las Vegas with just one loss in their Pool C matches.

The day began with a try fest for Emilee Cherry and Ellia Green, the pair scoring a treble and a double respectively in their 31-14 defeat of England.

Australia backed up that performance with a dominant six try display against Brazil, securing a 38-0 win.

Cherry and Green waited until the second half before crossing the line in that contest - teammates Pelite, Tonegato and Murphy all scoring before half time.

Australia’s final game was the biggest one of the day with an historic clash against New Zealand.

Historic because these two teams have never before had to face each other on Day One given they are consistently the leading teams in Women’s Rugby Sevens and therefore not drawn against one another in pool play.

 

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As expected, it was like a final, with these two combatants not holding back on the intensity or the physicality.

The Black Ferns got the early points on the board through Portia Woodman running in her 132nd career try.

Her second came not long after, but Cherry, feeling left out of the fun, put in her sixth for the day just as the siren sounded for the break.

As soon as the second half got underway, Charlotte Caslick out ran her chasers and scores were level after Dalton’s conversion at 14-14.

Michaela Blyde got her fingers to a bouncing ball before Cherry could as they both chased it into the in goal area, allowing New Zealand to jump ahead by seven points.

There was a lengthy stop in play shortly after this as Australia’s Chloe Dalton required medical attention on field following a clash at the breakdown. She was stretchered off some time later to the applause of the crowd.

Despite landing some massive tackles in defence, the Aussies struggled to obtain and retain possession when play resumed.

New Zealand took the win and the top spot on the table with a 21-14 victory.

Aussie coach Tim Walsh was pleased with the team’s improving defence through the day.

“I thought we defended well, particularly in the second game,” he said. “While I don’t like losing, I like where we’re heading. It was certainly a step up from Sydney.”

He singled out Mahalia Murphy for her continued improvement.

“I think Murphy has been getting better and better each tournament, adding layers to her game,” he said.

“I also thought Ellia Green was back to her best as well, Emilee Cherry crossed the line six times, Vani Pelite too was probably the pick of the players.”

Walsh also made it clear he was not happy about the incident around Chloe Dalton’s injury which was caused by a high clean out around the head and neck at the breakdown.

"That is the exact thing they are trying to eradicate from the game,” said Walsh.

“That kind of offence needs to eradicated from the game and I know that the referees are making that a focus point."  - Tim Walsh on Dalton injury.

Dalton has had scans at the hospital but all the signs were positive.

The first day finished with Canada and New Zealand surviving as the only undefeated teams in their Pools.

Joining them in the quarter finals will be Australia, Fiji, USA, Russia and France which, with the other two, are the top seven teams in the rankings.

The eighth team is the surprise packet with Ireland securing yet another Cup quarter final berth as it did in Sydney.

In other results, England was noteworthy again for suffering two losses and one win – a repeat of first day results in Sydney.

Going down convincingly to both New Zealand and Australia, the England women will be looking for victories on Day Two to regain some pride.

There is much to like about the Cup quarter finals on Day Two – the most obvious being a match between Australia and Fiji which always proves to be a gripping contest.

Canada will have a rematch of its Day One encounter against France.

Ireland will again face up to the USA in a rematch of the opening game of the tournament where it took the surprise win over the hosts, 24-21.

The match between the Kiwis and Russia could be a good contest depending which Russia turns up to play.

Walsh said he is feeling good heading into tomorrow.

“I thought we improved game on game, so a good rest now and then onto Fiji,“ he said.

Emilee Cherry also stood out for her six tries for the day, taking her to a career total of 95, well within reach of the magical century with another day’s play awaiting.

 

 

RESULTS

HSBC Women’s Sevens World Series, Las Vegas, Day One.

Australia 31 - 14 England

Australia 38 - 0 Brazil

Australia 14 - 21 New Zealand

Day Two Match

Australia v Fiji – 4.06am AEST

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