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Qantas Australian Women’s Sevens coach Tim Walsh has described himself as “pretty happy” after Australia swept their first three matches on day 1 of the IRB Women's Sevens World Series opening round in Dubai to set up a quarter final against England here on Friday.
“We executed a few things that we were aiming to do,” said Walsh. “So three out of three. Good start.”
Australia started with a 38-10 win over Brazil before following it up with an even more impressive 31-0 victory over France.
Outstanding for Australia, as usual, was captain Sharni Williams but she was matched by speedster Emilee Cherry, who crossed for four tries, and wings Ellia Green and Rachel Crothers, who both crossed for a treble.
So comfortable was Walsh going into the last game that he rested Green from the starting seven.
“Ellia is jet shoes but we’ve got a couple there so we like to balance it out” Walsh explained. “When you’ve got 12 players and a couple of days of intense games where you can you preserve some players.”
Walsh was also disappointed in Australia’s final match where he felt they made far too many mistakes before beating Canada 17-0.
“I am pleased but it’s all about the second day” he said. “Last game (against Canada) we would have turned the ball over six times, so very disappointing but we did keep them to nil so defence certainly a key player there.”
Australia’s major rival for the title tomorrow will be New Zealand who were their awesome best trouncing Fiji 33-7, Ireland 29-0 and the USA 31-0 to finish as the No.1 seed after Day 1, just ahead of Australia.
Asked if Australia could beat New Zealand Walsh answered: “Of course we can. We take it one game at a time but we beat them recently in an Oceania competition so they are fantastic team, don’t get me wrong, but at our best we can beat them.”
Australia’s quarter final against England will be at 12.46pm (7.46pm AEDT). In the other quarter finals New Zealand will take on bolters Brazil, Spain will play Canada and impressive Russia will meet the USA in the clash of the super powers.
To read reports of Australia’s matches see below.
For full tournament scores and reports go to http://wsws.irb.com/index.html
MATCH 1: AUSTRALIA 38 BRAZIL 10
The Qantas Women’s Sevens team kicked off their IRB Womens Sevens Word Series 2013-14 campaign off in fine style on Thursday in Dubai with a comfortable 38-10 win over a skillful Brazilian line up.
Australia held possession early on but a mistake on halfway gave Brazil the ball. The Brazilians made a break from the resulting scrum and good play by Edna Santini saw Luiza Campos go over for the opening try close to the posts. However the conversion was missed to put Brazil up 5-0 after 3 minutes.
Sharni Williams then led a long break for Australia but desperate defence from Brazil saw her dragged down. A solid line out soon after saw Australia cross for their first try after a good pass from Cobie-Jane Morgan saw the speedy Emilee Cherry go over next to the posts.
The conversion from Morgan was successful and Australia were up 7-5 with just a few minutes left in the first half.
But it was time enough for Ellia Green to score a long range try from a powerful burst but this time Morgan was not successful with the conversion.
The enterprising Brazilians almost scored their second try right on the half time whistle but they were called up for a forward pass, halting a promising move.
A yellow card to Raquel Kochhann from Brazil straight after the half time whistle opened up some space for Australia and Williams took advantage straight away, running a lovely line to score under the posts. She converted her own try to make it 19-5.
Green went in for her second a minute later but Brazil hit back with a well worked try to Julia Sarda with just two minutes left.
Coach Tim Walsh then went to the bench and 18-year-old dual international Emma Tonegato came on to make a superb run with her first touch to set up a second try to Williams.
Another debutant, beach sprinter Rachel Crothers, also made her mark as she came on and scored with the last action of the game as Australia finished strongly to win 38-10.
Qantas Australian Women’s Sevens 38 (Sharni Williams 2, Ellia Green 2, Emilee Cherry, Rachel Crothers tries; Sharni Williams 3, Cobie-Jane Morgan conversions) defeated Brazil 10 (Luiza Campos, Julia Sarda tries) at The 7evens, Dubai. (Half time: Australia 12 Brazil 5)
MATCH 2: AUSTRALIA 31 FRANCE 0
Australia took on France in their second match. France had been well beaten in their first match 26-0 by Canada.
Australia kicked off and France held the ball for the first 90 seconds then an aimless kick gave Australia the ball and they used it to full advantage, swinging it wide to Ellia Green who sprinted 70 metres down the left touchline to score her third try of the tournament. Sharni Williams missed the conversion.
Excellent play at the breakdown by Shannon Parry then turned over the ball and Emilee Cherry picked up the ball at the base of the ruck and scooted down the blindside to score. Williams again missed the conversion but Australia were up 10-0.
Alicia Quirk then won a turnover and slick ball movement saw the ball come wide to Cherry who sprinted over for her second try, third of the tournament. This time Williams converted and Australia led 17-0 at half time.
The second half started with both teams throwing everything into attack and Australian coach Tim Walsh would have been extremely pleased with the swift ball movement and skills of his team as well as the committed and organised defence.
Eventually Australia broke away with a superb long range score to the blistering pace of Rachel Crothers and she scored her second a minute later, third of the tournament, scooping on a French mistake. Both plays were converted by sub Cobie-Jane Morgan.
France attacked desperately in the final minutes but Australia were just as desperate to keep a clean sheet, which they achieved. Promising signs indeed for the women of gold, but it's still very early in the tournament.
Qantas Australian Women’s Sevens 31 (Emilee Cherry 2, Rachel Crothers 2, Ellia Green tries; Cobie-Jane Morgan 2, Sharni Williams conversions) defeated France 0 at The 7evens, Dubai. (Half time: Australia 17 France 0)
MATCH 3: AUSTRALIA 17 CANADA 0
Australia’s final match of the day pitted the two undefeated teams in Pool C against each other – Canada and Australia.
Canada had started with a comfortable 26-0 over France before having to fight hard to salvage a draw 12-12 against surprise packets Brazil.
Australia for their part had been far more impressive overcoming France 31-0 and Brazil 38-10.
A win for Australia was crucial however in this last match to give them a favourable quarter final draw.
Shannon Parry looked like she had set up Australia’s first try early on with a charge down and re-gather close to Canada’s line but a lack of composure saw Charlotte Caslick knock on at the base of the ruck.
Canada then lost Kayla Moleschi to the sin-bin and immediately Australia pounced with Sharni Williams putting Emilee Cherry away for the opening try of the match, and Cherry’s fourth on the opening day. Williams missed the conversion but Australia led 5-0 at half time.
Ellia Green had not taken the field yet in the match and it was clear that Australia were missing the presence of the blockbusting winger.
But Williams settled the nerves bursting through the Canada defence to score a converted try and put Australia out to a 12-0 lead.
Green came off the bench and a strong run down the right hand touchline set up a try to Amy Turner in the opposite corner.
Williams couldn’t convert from wide out but Australia had done enough, clinching a 17-0 victory and a perfect record on day one to set up an Ashes quarter final against England.
Qantas Australian Women’s Sevens 17 (Emilee Cherry, Sharni Williams, Amy Turner tries; Sharni Williams conversion) defeated Canada 0 at 7he Sevens, Dubai. (Half time: Australia 5 Canada 0)
Follow the Qantas Men's and Women's Sevens and their progress in Dubai with match updates on Twitter @Aussie7s.
Qantas Women's Seven's squad for the opening round of the 2013/14 IRB Women's Sevens World Series:
Toowoomba Bears, QLD
Power House, VIC
Sunshine Coast, QLD
Mount Isa, QLD
Cobie Jane Morgan
Wagga Wagga, NSW
Sharni Williams (c)
Canberra Royals, ACT
Qantas Australian Rugby Sevens stars Emilee Cherry and Cameron Clark have been rewarded for their stellar performances throughout their respective 2013/14 seasons after picking up three awards between them at the 2014 John Eales Medal in Sydney.