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Australian Women’s Sevens have topped Pool B of the Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 in Moscow with wins over China, Ireland and South Africa to qualify for the quarter finals of the Rugby World Cup Sevens.
The Australians now face Spain at 7:34pm (AEST) tonight in the Cup quarter-final to see them continue the journey to defend their title.
Conceding only five points, Australian Women’s Sevens coach Chris Lane was satisfied with the team’s performance and today’s results.
“It was our goal to finish top of our pool, but we now need to prepare for tomorrow so we can back up on today’s results,” Lane said.
“The team doesn’t feel any extra pressure from being defending champions. We only have one returning player from 2009 in Rebecca Tavo. While her experience is valuable, it’s a team effort and all 12 girls will be contributing to the result.
“We need to get out there and do what we do best, stick to the plan and bring home the win.”
Australia v China
The 32 degree day saw the defending Champions dominate China, leading 17-0 at half time thanks to two tries by 17 year old Tiana Penitani, the youngest player to represent Australia in any Rugby World Cup.
The second half saw the schoolgirl score a further two tries to make her only the second Australian Women’s player to score four tries in a game. Two further goals and three conversions saw Australia seal China’s fate winning 36-0, setting up a great start to their campaign.
Australia v Ireland
Australia next faced in-form Ireland. The first 90 seconds saw captain Sharni Williams notch up 7 points only to see Ireland’s Alison Miller follow up with a try. A great run by Emilee Cherry extended the Australians’ lead to12-5 at half time.
Both sides remained scoreless for much of the second half, with neither team capitalising on their line breaks. The Australians were relentless in their attack and were rewarded with two successive tries late in the game to secure the win for Australia at 22-5.
Australia v South Africa
A win in the final game against South Africa was vital to secure top spot in Pool B and guarantee a place in the quarter finals.
The Australians led 10-0 at half time courtesy of tries by Cherry and Penitani, in what was anticipated to be the game of the pool.
Thirty seconds into the second half and Penitani scored her sixth try of the tournament, making her equal leading try scorer overall. Tavo came on in a substitution and subsequently scored.
Collaborative play saw Cherry run clear of the opposition in what was a straightforward win for Australia seeing off South Africa 29-0.
Lane said, “We thought both Ireland and South Africa would be equally challenging, with many close matches throughout the iRB Series, but I am really proud how the girls lifted for the final game.”
The Australian Women’s Sevens now faces Spain in the Quarter Finals at 7:34pm (AEST) on Sunday 30 June. All matches will be streamed live at www.irb.com. The final day of the tournament will be streamed live on www.irb.com and broadcast live on Fox Sports 2.
Australia 36 – China 0
Australia tries – Tiana Penitani (4), Amy Turner, Iliseva Batibasaga
; Conversions – Sharni Williams (2), Katrina Barker
Australia 22 – Ireland 5
Australia tries –Williams, Emilee Cherry, Shontelle Stowers, Batibasaga
; Conversions – Williams
Australia 29 – South Africa 0
Australia tries –Cherry (2), Penitani (2), Rebecca Tavo
; Conversions –Williams, Barker
Fans of Rugby Sevens will be able to feel closer to the Australian team than ever before when the new jerseys go on sale from today (Monday, 8 September).