Aussie Women's Sevens claim third straight title

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

North America had long been the bogey territory for the Australian Women’s Sevens but they shrugged that monkey off their back with a 24-19 Cup final win over New Zealand.

Australia is yet to walk away from a tournament without the cup in the 2015-16 season, after winning the Dubai and Sao Paulo tournaments before adding Atlanta.

Australia would possibly take the most confidence out of their inaugural win in Atlanta, a tournament in which they have suffered mixed results historically.

Australia jumped straight out into the lead with three first-half tries giving them a 19-point advantage in the first half, against an under strength New Zealand side.

In a player of the final performance, Charlotte Caslick slipped through a swarm of defenders, streaking away for an incredible long-range try to draw first blood in the decider in just the second minute.

Unstoppable! Charlotte Caslick. Photo: Getty Images.Less than two minutes later Alicia Quirk added to the scoresheet, eluding her opponents to cross in the corner

Emilee Cherry snapped up an intercept just 10 metres from New Zealand’s line, crossing for Australia’s third try and putting all the pressure on their rivals from across the ditch.

New Zealand snagged one back just shy of the half-time hooter, through Selica Winiata, making the margin 12 at the break.

Australia’s defence lifted in the second half as New Zealand laid the pressure on, with the women in green and gold absorbing the Kiwis’ attack.

The sides traded tries as the second stanza ticked down, with a super Caslick try answered by a five-pointer from New Zealand’s Portia Woodman.

Winiata had another hooter beater but it was too little too late, with the Aussies’ early advantage proving enough to hang on.

"I'm so proud of the team and with our experienced players who played a lot of minutes," said coach Tim Walsh.

"They had to find ways to adapt their game, particularly today, with the amount of time they were on the pitch."

Outside back Emma Tonegato was named player of the tournament in Atlanta after racking up 10 tries.

"Emma was absolutely world class in this tournament. She was packing in scrums, she was out on the wing ... she demonstrated an array of skills and is a valued member of this squad," Walsh said.

Emma Tonegato named player of the tournament in Atlanta. Photo: World RugbyAustralia sit atop the ladder on 60 points, 14 clear of New Zealand with Canada a further four behind.

The fourth leg of the series heads north to Langford in Canada next weekend with Walsh set to name his 12-strong squad on Tuesday.

Australia 24 (Tries Caslick, Quirk, Cherry Cons: Dalton 2)

New Zealand 19 (Tries: Winiata 2, Woodman Cons: Winiata 2)