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The Qantas Australian Women’s Sevens side has qualified for the last eight of the Guangzhou Sevens despite a late defeat against a fired-up England on Saturday night.
Australia Women’s Sevens Head Coach Tim Walsh said: “It wasn’t our greatest first day but to take positives we played averagely and still topped our pool. It also highlighted a couple of areas for improvement.
“The beauty of sport, and in particular Sevens, is that it is never too long to wait for redemption.”
Australia will play Spain in the Cup Quarter-Finals on Sunday afternoon with the winners of the tie playing Canada or England in the Cup Semi-Finals.
“Spain are a tremendously competitive team and fight for everything. The last time we played them was in the World Cup last year when they beat us on the final whistle. We have been waiting for this rematch!”
The joint-leaders of the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series got its campaign off to a fine start when they crushed Ireland. The Aussies were in irresistible form as tries from Emilee Cherry (2), Alicia Quirk (2), Emma Tonegato (2), Gemma Etheridge and Amy Turner set up a 50-0 win. It was the first time in the 2013/14 IRB Women’s Sevens World Series that a side had scored a half-century of points in a single game.
Against Fiji, Australia were rewarded for its quick start with a 19-0 lead at the break, eventually running out comfortable 24-5 winners. Sharni Williams, Charlotte Caslick, Alicia Quirk and Emilee Cherry on the scoresheet.
England, needing a win themselves to qualify for the Cup Quarter-Finals in China, made a blistering start to the game against Australia. Their aggression at the breakdown paid off when Rachel Burford scored after a minute and Heather Fisher a minute later to give England a healthy 12-0 lead. After a period of sustained possession, Australia finally exposed a gap that Alicia Quirk exploited just before the interval to get her side back in the game.
Emilee Cherry levelled proceedings midway through the second half after a classic ‘show and go’ saw her touch down in the left corner. However, a late penalty from Sarah McKenna from right in front of the posts earned England a hard-fought win (12-15).
In the other Cup Quarter-Finals, New Zealand meet France, Russia play Fiji and Canada play England. Australia (56) share the lead of the 2013/14 IRB Women’s Sevens World Series with New Zealand with just two legs of the season remaining.
Australian Women’s Sevens results and fixtures in Sao Paulo, 5-6 April 2014:
Australia 50-0 Ireland, Pool B
Australia 24-5 Fiji, Pool B
Australia 12-15 England, Pool B
Australia v Spain, Cup Quarter-Final (12.44 AEST)
Tom Kingston was nearly a Sevens player five years ago, just as he entered the professional rugby ranks.