Aussies finish with bronze in Kitakyushu

Womens - Kitakyushu
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Australia has finished with a bronze medal in Kitakyushu, winning their third-place playoff on Sunday afternoon.

After losing to New Zealand in the semi-finals, the Aussies finished on a high, beating Spain in their last match.

New Zealand went on to win the competition, beating France 24-12 in the final.

Australia still leads the World Series, six points ahead of New Zealand after three tournament legs.

6:25pm - Bronze medal playoff - Australia 19 - Spain 5 

Australia’s women have finished third in Japan, beating Spain 19-5 in their Kitakyushu Sevens bronze medal playoff.

After an early arm wrestle, Spain’s Ingrid Algar drew first blood, beating Alicia Quirk one-on-one on the way to her score, despite an apparent knock-on in the lead up.

Evania Pelite hit back two minutes later for Australia, fending off a Spanish defender to bring scores level midway through the first half.

Both sides had their chances in the final stages of the first stanza, but neither cold take them, leaving scores level at the break.

Spain held the early momentum in the second half, after an uncharacteristic error from Emilee Cherry, but Australia continued to work to keep the Spaniards out.

Australia kept the ball in hand to heap the pressure on Spain, with a third attempt at breaking through the defensive line successful, Emma Tonegato finishing off her team’s perseverance.

Cherry capitalised on a Spanish defensive lapse, to seal the win and bronze finish for the Aussies.

Pelite’s afternoon finished prematurely, with the 22-year-old forced off with injury in the 10th minute.

Despite their third-place finish in Japan, the Australians remain on top of the World Series after three tournaments.

3:39pm - Cup semi-final - Australia 12 - New Zealand 17

Australia will have to settle for the bronze playoff in Kitakyushu, losing its cup semi-final against New Zealand, 17-12.

It took little more than a minute for Evania Pelite to open the scoring for the Aussies against New Zealand.

Two minutes later it looked like Peliete had her second, before being brought down by Portia Woodman.

Some slick work through the hands had Australia close again, but it took another attacking chain before Emma Tonegato broke the line to score their second of the match.

Aggressive New Zealand defence stopped the Aussies from adding to their tally, and it was Kiwi Gayle Broughton who had the final say of the opening stanza, narrowing the gap to seven points.

New Zealand threatened first in the second half, but a forward pass let the Aussies off the hook briefly.

The Kiwis didn’t make the same mistake twice, Sarah Goss pinching a turnover and sending Michaela Blyde over for their second, making the gap just two points.

New Zealand’s rush defence backfired as Emma Sykes found a gap to sprint through, but the Australians were their own worst enemy, with Sykes chased down and the Aussies unable to link up and finish it off.

A New Zealand intercept gave them another attacking chance, and though Australia’s defence fought hard, Tyla Nathan-Wong slipped through to score and take the lead with 90 seconds to go.

The Aussies will take on Spain in the third-place playoff at 6:04pm AEST.

12:13pm - Cup quarter-final - Fiji 7 - Australia 31

Australia has set up a mouthwatering Kitakyushu Sevens Cup semi-final against New Zealand, after beating Fiji 31-7 on Sunday morning.

Fiji conceded a yellow card just 40 seconds into the match and Demi Hayes made the most of the advantage just 20 seconds later to score the opener.

Emma Tonegato played a big hand in that opener and the speedster added her own name to the scoresheet soon after, with some strong work from Shannon Parry creating a chance.

Then it was Fiji’s turn to play with an extra woman, Emilee Cherry shown yellow, and Viniana Naisaluwaki Riwai gave the Islanders their first of the morning.

Fiji’s momentum didn’t last long, with Tonegato again creating a score for Australia, beating a host of defenders to set Emma Sykes up for the Aussies’ third.

Evania Pelite gave Australia the perfect start to the second half, with a Cherry tackle winning the Aussies’ early possession.

Tonegato had her double midway through the second half as Australia took control.

Australia will take on New Zealand in their semi-final at 3:20pm AEST.

11:08am - Finals fixtures

There are some new faces in the Kitakyushu Cup quarter-finals. Here's the final eight.

New Zealand 50 - China 0

Fiji 7 - Australia 31

France 29 - Russia 5

Spain 7 - England 5