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By ARU Media Unit
Australian debutant Ellia Green has scored a try in sudden-death extra time to help her side claim a 17-12 win over New Zealand for a third place finish at the second round of the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series in Houston.
With the score locked at 12-12 at full time, the Qantas Women’s Sevens pressured New Zealand throughout extra time before Green was able to capitalise out wide, touching down in the corner to seal the match.
Green’s performance is all the more remarkable considering this was her first-ever Sevens tournament of any format, after she was brought into the Australian squad following attendance at one of Australian Rugby Union’s Pathway to Gold Talent ID camps last year.
Rather than be overawed by the occasion, Green said she was raring for an opportunity to contribute to their final match.
“I came on with fresh legs so I was ready to go,” Green said.
“I was wanting the ball and I was just thinking ‘catch me if you can.’ It was amazing, I couldn’t have done it without the support and encouragement of the whole team, they just gave me encouragement after every game and helped me improve throughout the tournament.
“I am absolutely hooked, I’m addicted to this game. I was loving every second on the field. I just want to learn more and play more.”
Qantas Women’s Sevens coach Chris Lane was pleased with his team’s performance, after a tough two days of competition.
“They gutsed it out. We had a quarter-final that went to extra time then the final that went to extra time,” Lane said.
“They just showed a lot of ticker. I’m very proud of them. Ellia may have scored the winning try, but that was a whole squad effort, everyone contributed to this over the two days.”
While Lane had hoped for a top two finish, he said his squad had achieved their goal of constant improvement.
“The result wasn’t exactly what we wanted, but we’ve improved from the last tournament and it’s always good to beat New Zealand, who threw plenty at us,” Lane said.
New Zealand opened the scoring through Portia Woodman, converted by Kendra Cocksedge, but Australia hit back through Amy Turner and Tricia Brown added the extras to lock the score at 7-7 at half time.
New Zealand again opened the scoring in the second half, with a try to Honey Hireme, but Cocksedge was unable to convert.
The Australians were straight back into the contest following a yellow card to New Zealand’s Kayla McAlister and a penalty try for a high tackle on Green which prevented a certain try, but Iliseva Batibasaga was unable to convert and the scores were again locked, 12-12.
They then controlled the flow of extra time before sending Green over in the corner.
The Australians found themselves in the third-fourth playoff following a 17-5 loss to the United States in the Cup semifinal earlier today.
Australia and the United States were locked at 5-5 at half time of their Cup semifinal, following an early try to the hosts through Victoria Folayan, followed by one to the visitors through Brown.
The hosts ran away with it in the second half, crossing over through Folayan and Christy Ringgenberg.
Earlier today, the Qantas Women’s Sevens defeated South Africa 17-12 in extra time in the Cup quarter final, following tries Shontelle Stowers, Green and Batibasaga. Brown added one conversion.
The Qantas Women’s Sevens started the tournament in fine form, topping their pool following an undefeated first day of competition.
The Australian women opened the day with a convincing 31-12 win over Japan, following tries to Stowers, Brown, Nikki Ehteridge, Gemma Etheridge and Cobie-Jane Morgan. Brown added three conversions.
They then went on to defeat Brazil 22-0, with tries to Batibasaga, Green, Stowers and Nikki Ehteridge. Batibasaga added one conversion.
Their final match of the day saw Australia defeat powerful opponents Russia 15-10. A tight contest saw Brown and Gemma Etheridge cross over for tries, with Brown adding a conversion and a penalty to make the difference.
The second round of the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series was won by England, who defeated the United States 29-12 in the Cup final.
The IRB Women’s Sevens World Series resumes in China on 30-31 March.
Qantas Women’s Sevens for Houston
Sharni Williams (C)
Ellia Green (Debut)