Sydney and ACT to battle for national title

Leesa Hamilton
by Leesa Hamilton

Sydney will have a chance to defend their national women’s title against a youthful ACT side on Sunday.

The defending champions went through Pool A undefeated, putting them through to the decider, after tough challenges from WA, the Australian Defence Rugby Union (ADFRU) and Victoria.

A 25-0 win over WA on day two sealed their pool lead, after overcoming two yellow cards to keep the Western Australians scoreless.

Sydney captain Ash Hewson said she was anticipating a tough challenge against their southern rivals.

“Against WA every single player stood up," she said.

"We were down two players, defended for 70 percent of the game, and we still kept them off the scoreboard. Tomorrow I think ACT will be a challenge but I think we’ve got the team to beat them.”

The ADRFU took out the other Pool A match of the day, with a 17-10 win over Victoria, with a second-half try sealing the win for the services.

The ACT made it through to the final. Photo: ARU MediaACT finished at the top of Pool B, despite a thrilling loss to Queensland to end their round robin stages.

Country NSW bested South Australia 24-7 in the other Pool B match of the day.

Wallaroos coach Paul Verrell said the competitiveness of the tournament was a positive sign for women’s rugby.

“The close pools show how competitive the tournament has been,” he said.

“I do feel for Queensland. In hindsight they might have started a different team against Country NSW, but against the ACT they came out fired up and were impressive to get that win.”

Verrell was full of praise for the reigning champions after their character-revealing win over WA.

“Sydney were able to capitalise on WA’s rare mistakes to show that they deserved to be there in the final, even though they didn’t have much possession,” he said.

Finals Day Schedule at St Ignatius College, Riverview, Sydney - Sunday June 26

Seventh place playoff - SA v Victoria - 8.30am

Fifth place playoff - Country NSW v ADFRU 9.45am

Third place playoff - WA v QLD - 11.00am

Grand final - Sydney v ACT - 12.15pm