Aussie women into Sydney Cup final

Sat, Jan 27, 2018, 3:00 AM
Beth Newman
by Beth Newman
The Aussie Sevens women defeated Russia in a bruising Cup semi-final in Sydney.

Australia's women will have a shot at their first Sydney Cup title, after beating Russia 31-0 in the Cup semi-final.

A final spot is one step further than they made it in 2017, where they ultimately finished fourth, and puts them on the path for elusive home soil glory

Australia is yet to concede a single point through the Sydney tournament, a feat coach Tim Walsh can't remember achieving before.

Whether they'll be able to inflict a nil score on New Zealand in Sunday's final is yet to be seen and, if they come away with the win, only a side story for Walsh.

"I think it is realistic but we don't even think about it to be honest," he said.

"It's game-by game, I know it's a cliche but it really is. 

"It's a philosophy that works ,concentrating on what's going on.

"We know up against a formidable team like New Zealand, there will be periods where we might let in a try, but it's how you bounce back from it.

"That would be pretty special but it's something we're not really worried about right now."

 Though the first minutes were played in Russian territory, Australia couldn't cross the line, making some uncharacteristic mistakes.

Eventually, they turned their territory into points, with Emilee Cherry finishing off in the third minute to open the scores,  

Cherry repaid the favour to Tonegato in the fifth minute, the latter making it two unanswered tries for the Aussies.

The Russians gave Australia little space, putting more heat on their attack than any team had so far this tournament. 

A Charlotte Caslick fumble off the second-half restart put Australia under pressure again, but the Aussie star made up for it a handful of phases later, saving a near-certain Russian try.

Australia had Russia at arm's length, still holding a two-try lead, but the Russians were relentless, and Caslick took her in-game rollercoaster up a notch, scoring a superb individual try to give Australia the buffer they needed.

The arm wrestle resumed, with Alicia Quirk running in the match-sealing try after the final whistle.

Incredibly, the Aussies will head into the decider without having conceded a single point in their entire tournament to that point.

In this three-day format, the Aussies have a whole night to recover from the day's play, with the final to be played on Sunday afternoon.

They'll be firmly in the spotlight on Sunday and Walsh said it was something his team would embrace.

The New Zealand Women's Sevens don't have the chance to play at home. Photo: Walmsley"They always handle pressure really well, Even the Olympics, going in as number one, that kind of thing and even last year, you look at it, you reflect on why we didn't go so well last year and we didn't play well but I don't think it was because of pressure.

"I'll take responsibility for it - I got them back from Rio too early and we just physically and mentally were just really flat.

"We weren't performing and that's down to many different things, certainly wasn't just the pressure.

"Pressure they've always thrived under but this year we're fitter and we're in a very good mental space but again we're against New Zealand, current world champions and on fire.

The Cup final will be played at 2:37pm AEDT on Sunday, against the winner of the Canada-New Zealand semi-final. 

Keep up with all the action in our live blog.


Australia 24

Tries: Cherry, Tonegato, Caslick, Staples, Quirk

Cons: Sykes 2, Williams

Russia 0

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