Trans-Tasman series on a knife's edge

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Aussie Sevens face a must-win game against New Zealand on Saturday, after losing both trans-Tasman matches in Bendigo on Friday, 17-7 and 34-0.

After sneaking home in the opening game on Thursday, Australia rolled out two relatively fresh-faced lineups on Friday, with coach Tim Walsh keen to see some of the top Uni7s prospects in action against the reigning World Series champions.

The second match featured just one capped Australian player - Brooke Walker- against a New Zealand side that included a handful of World Series representatives.

Walsh said he expected New Zealand to come out firing on day two and they did exactly that, punishing Australia’s errors, of which there were simply too many.

Emma Sykes slotted a conversion in Bendigo. Photo: Imagine Pictures“No one likes losing and they came out this morning one of the best teams they’ve got there,” he said.

“It was a very tight game this morning and I guess the reality set in and the struggle of two days of footy.

“(But) absolute respect to the girls for playing well in the first two and the Kiwis having to really throw out their best team to put us under the microscope.”

Though the final score lines were unflattering for the home side, Walsh said they were the perfect learning curve for the players who came from the domestic Uni7s series.

“I think the only thing you can take is what they’re going to learn about what it needs to play at the next level,” he said.

“It wasn’ the fact NZ didn’t give us the ball, they had three kick-offs that didn’t go 10 and they turned over the ball.

“We just didn’t hold onto it long enough.

The Black Ferns have the upper hand after day two. Photo: Imagine Pictures“Looking after the ball, working in threes, those things were lacking and when they turned it over, we were really off the pace with our defence, getting bumped off, beating on the outside and through the middle.”

“Looking at the fundamentals, there’s not a lot to take out of, the learning curve, the only positive, they’ve been exposed to a world-class team.”

Katie Harrison and Yasmin Meakes have impressed Walsh in the opening matches, the standouts among the Uni7s representatives who earned a call-up to the side in Bendigo.

Australia goes into day three having to win the opening clash to keep the series alive, but a must-win won’t change Walsh’s approach.

Australia is likely to put out another rookie-dominated lineup on Saturday first up, led by superstar Charlotte Caslick, before fielding more of his stars in the final match of the series.

The opening game kicks off at 3:30pm AEDT on Saturday, with the fifth and final encounter at 6:30pm AEDT in Bendigo.



Australia 7

Tries: McGregor

Cons: Sykes

New Zealand 17 


Australia 0

New Zealand 34 


Game four

Australia vs New Zealand, 3:30pm AEDT 

Game five

Australia vs New Zealand 6:30pm AEDT