Aussies top Pool despite draw with Fiji in tough final game

by Jill Scanlon

Australia has finished day one in Langford with no losses, topping Pool C at the HSBC World Series Canada Sevens.

The Aussies finished the day with a 24-all draw against a determined Fiji, having defeated Ireland and Spain in the earlier games.

Fiji put in its biggest performance of the day after uncharacteristically losing its first two pool games.

For Australia, Tim Walsh again sent out the youngsters in the team as his opening gambit knowing he had plenty of firepower on the bench when required – and in the end it was very much required.

Fiji opened the scoring through Raijieli Daveua which was quickly answered for the Aussies by Georgie Friedrichs from a lovely offload by fellow Queenslander Demi Hayes.

Talica Vodo and Brooke Walker then added one more a piece to have things all tied up 12-12 at the break.

Quirk, Dalton and Caslick entered the contest in the second half and Charlotte Caslick made her presence felt immediately impacting on the scoreboard.

Playing Australia always seems to bring out the best in the Fijians and two quick tries to Miriama Naiobasali and captain, Ana Maria Roqica saw them take the lead with a minute left in the game.

The Aussies pressured the defence and Alicia Quirk finally broke through to level the scores as the final siren sounded.

Needing a conversion kick which would normally be her bread-and-butter, the bemused look on the face of Chloe Dalton reflected her disbelief as the kick missed just to the left of the uprights, close in and on a slight angle.

Women’s Sevens Coach, Tim Walsh was not happy with the performance of his team on Day One.

"We didn’t play our best rugby and didn’t respect the ball when we had it." - Tim Walsh.

"When we did make the tackles, we did well but I think it was very uncharacteristic around our ball handling.

“There are good signs though in not playing well and topping the Pool but we are going to have to be a hell of a lot better to beat the USA.

“We just need to make some slight changes, be a bit more clinical and we will be able to get some continuity and I think our attack will open up.

“I was very impressed with Cassie (Staples). She came on and with her first touch she scored a try. She wasn’t just on the end of the pass, she had some work to do and did really well to score.

“it’s great to see someone work hard over the last six months and when she has got her chance she is making the most of it. She’s doing all the right thi

The result did not affect the Pool C placings as Australia finished without a loss and therefore topped the group and Fiji’s two earlier losses had eliminated it from the possibility of a place in the quarter finals.

On a day which saw the young talent in the Aussie team get a valuable level of game-time, the overall performance of the team will give the coach and players confidence going into their crucial quarter final match.

Australia will play the USA in its Cup Quarter Final on Monday at 3.52am AEST.

In other results

New Zealand and Canada both finished the day undefeated not really being put to the test at any point.

The Kiwis showed no signs of suffering from the absence of Sarah Goss, Kelly Brazier and Portia Woodman.

The impressive overall result of the day came from one of the minnows with Ireland advancing through to the final eight with two wins, only losing to Australia.

The top finishers of the day are New Zealand, USA, Canada, France, Australia and Ireland.

England has again misfired for the most part, despite the talent in its ranks, but has managed to secure a quarter finals spot with Russia as the two best third-placed teams out of the group action.


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