Aussies in box seat for maiden World Sevens Series title

Mon, 18/04/2016, 01:42 am
Beth Newman
by Beth Newman
The Aussie Sevens finished third in Canada. Photo: World Rugby
The Aussie Sevens finished third in Canada. Photo: World Rugby

Australia will need to make the Plate semi-final in May’s Clermont-Ferrard Sevens leg to secure its first World Series title, after finishing third in Canada.

Australia’s third place means they’ve added 16 points to their overall series tally (76), giving them a 12-point buffer over New Zealand (64), who finished runner-up in Langford.

With 20 points on offer for a tournament win, Australia needs  to finish at least sixth in the final World Series leg to ensure even a New Zealand win couldn't knock them off their perch.

If they don't win, New Zealand would need to finish at least three spots higher than Australia to leapfrog the world number one side in France.

That position means Australia will have to make the Plate final (fifth vs sixth) to guarantee the outright World Series title and end New Zealand’s monopoly on the championship.

England is the only other side that could claim it, but would need to finish runner-up and hope the Aussies are relegated to the Bowl competition between the bottom four sides.

Australia is yet to finish anywhere below third in any leg, with Canada the only tournament this season that Australia hasn't won.

While they brought an inexperienced squad to the tournament, it was their experienced duo of Emilee Cherry and Amy Turner who clinched Australia’s third spot at the death for a 19-12 win over France.

Cherry had six tries for her weekend, to make her the series leader this season, but gave the last pass this time around to Turner after full-time for the Australian win.

A France yellow card gave Australia a one-player advantage but Australia struggled to find the space to capitalise on that.

It was Camille Grassineau who broke the deadlock in the fifth minute for France, after a five-minute attacking barrage on the Aussie line.

Mahalia Murphy slipped through the French defence to score Australia’s first try just shy of  half -time, with the women in gold going ahead for the first time in the match.

A second just in the eighth minute, to Emilee Cherry, gave the Aussies a seven-point buffer.

Australian captain Shannon Parry was left chasing Jessy Tremouliere try down the wing as the French women hit back in the 12th minute to draw level, before Turner’s match winner.

Women's Sevens coach Tim Walsh said a potential Series win would be the best lead-in to a maiden Olympics campaign, in August.

"France is at the forefront of our mind, no doubt about that. Our aim at the start of the season was to perform well at each tournament and then the World Series would take care of itself," he said.

"We would be a very proud team and honoured if we do win the title - it would be the perfect preparation as we head to the Rio Olympics in August."

Australia 19

(Tries: Murphy, Cherry Cons: Dalton 2)

France  12

(Tries: Grassineau, Tremouliere. Cons: Le Pesq)

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