Aussie 7s sneak home in Bendigo opener

by Sam Phillips

The boot of Brooke Walker has proved the difference in the Bendigo series opener, as the Australian Women's Sevens side beat New Zealand 14-12.

Coach Tim Walsh threw two of his new recruits from the Aon Uni 7s series - Lauren Brown and Katie Harrison - straight into the furnace and they delivered, playing parts in the two point win.

Walsh is using the first four matches of this series to test new combinations and as a result, Brown and Harrison were joined by Walker, Cassie Staples, Nicole Beck, Dom Du Toit and Vani Pelite in the starting side.

New Zealand crossed first but tries to Staples and Du Toit, along with Walker's conversions, were enough to get the Australians over the line in a match Walsh summarised as "rusty".

"You always have to be pleased when you beat New Zealand but both teams were pretty rusty," Walsh told RUGBY.com.au."It was a rusty start but the intent was there and we got the result in the end.New Zealand were no match for the Australians in Bendigo. Photo: Imagine Pictures"I was really happy with the leadership from Vani Pelite, who was our only (Rio) medallist that stared but then we had contributions from girls at each level.

"Everyone has to play well to beat New Zealand and that's what we got tonight - I was impressed on all levels.

"The girls at the top, in the middle and the rookies - they all did their jobs."

There will be two more clashes between the two nations tomorrow and two more on Friday, matches Walsh intends to use as a means of testing the new combinations he has at his disposal.

"I want to see all the different combinations in these first four matches," Walsh said.Fans were out in force in Bendigo. Photo: Imagine Pictures"That's what the first four are about - seeing what the girls that we have brought in from Aon (Uni 7s) have got against the world's best.

"There's no better test than facing New Zealand so we will see what we have got over the next couple of days, with all the different combinations.

"In that fifth game we will play the five (Rio) medallists we have here - we will mix it up then."

RESULT

Australia 14

Tries: Staples, Du Toit

Conversions: Walker 2

New Zealand 12

DRAW

Australia Womens Sevens vs New Zealand Sevens at Epsom Huntley Reserve, Bendigo (all times AEDT)

Friday October 20, 3:30pm

Australia vs New Zealand

Friday October 20, 6:30pm

Australia vs New Zealand

Saturday October 21, 3:30pm

Australia vs New Zealand

Saturday October 21, 3:30pm

Australia vs New Zealand