A Charlotte Caslick hat-trick has helped Ausralia seal a perfect day one and top their pool in Biarritz with a 27-17 over Canada.
The win puts them on track for Olympic qualification, with just a quarter-final performance win needed to stamp out even the slim chance France has of leapfrogging Australia.
Not everything went Australia’s way against Canada - Bianca Farella had the opener for Canada aft er a scrappy start to the first half and the Aussies were forced to defend in the opening stages.
It took a monstrous hit from Ellia Green to force a turnover for the Aussies and Charlotte Caslick was ready to pounce.
Evania Pelite pulled off two try-saving tackles as Canada vied to try and stretch their lead, invaluable defensive efforts for the Aussies.
Pelite started Australia’s next scoring play, holding up the Spanish defence and waiting for support players, triggering some slick attacking play that finished with Caslick’s second.
REACTION: @CharlieCaslick scored a hat-trick in @Aussie7s win over @RugbyCanada to top Pool B at the #BiarritzSevens but says there’s work to do to sharpen their defence before the quarter-finals pic.twitter.com/zblxf1SifD— World Rugby Sevens (@WorldRugby7s) June 15, 2019
That score gave Australia a five-point lead on the stroke of half-time.
Caslick completed her hat-trick in the second half and Ellia Green sealed the game with a score off a powerful run down the left edge.
Williams finally found a way through the Australian defence, narrowing the margin to eight points with a minute left to go.
Biarritz debutant Rhiannon Byers was sent to the bin for a dangerous tackle just after that Williams try but another Green score ensured there would be no miracle Canadian comeback.
Australia will take on Spain in their quarter-final on Sunday at 7pm AEST, LIVE on worldrugby.org
AUSTRALIA vs SPAIN
Australia’s women have put themselves in the box seas for a spot in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the Biarritz Cup quarter-finals with a 31-14 win over Spain.
The Aussies need to finish within eight places of fifth-place France to cement their top four spot in the World Series standings and a quarter-final win would ensure they do that.
Evania Pelite won an early turnover to give the Aussies a strong start but a mistake in attack gave Spain the opportunity to return the favour.
The Spanish made the most of their counter-attack with Maria Losada scoring off that turnover in the second minute.
Australia were able to respond quickly, exploiting a defensive overlap to put Sariah Paki over on the right edge and Emma Tonegato had one in almost the same spot less than a minute later to snatch the lead.
Samantha Treherne showed off some silky soccer skills, toeing a loose ball downfield to score Australia’s third.
Spain was first off the mark in the second half through a spectacular Anne Fernandez de Corres try, narrowing the gap to just three points.
An offside infringement at the restart opened up the opportunity for Tonegato to notch her second of the afternoon, putting the Aussies back in the driver’s seat.
Charlotte Caslick iced the match with a try in the final minute of the match.
Australia takes on Canada in their final pool match at 2:20am AEST, on World Rugby’s digital channels.
AUSTRALIA vs IRELAND
The Australians scored five tries to one in the 27-5 win, with Emma Tonegato and Evania Pelite scoring two each, and Ellia Green touching down a superb team try as well.
The Aussie win takes the team one step closer to Olympic qualification for the 2020 Games and a chance to defend their gold medal in Tokyo.
Entering the last tournament of the year in fourth spot – and with the top four automatically qualifying – Australia only needs to progress to the quarter-finals to lock down the final rank.
That translates to two pool wins and the Australian team never looked in doubt of taking their first against Ireland, courtesy of some physical work at the breakdown and pace out wide.
Tonegato’s charges led to the opening two tries – one for herself and another for Pelite – and when Tonegato scored her second before half time it was a 17-0 lead at oranges.
The second half saw Ireland get more ball and mount a comeback, and they scored a try. But the Australian defence was strong, and they fended off any threat with two more tries in the last four minutes; including a multi-pass pearler finished by Green.
Saturday June 15
Australia 27 - Ireland 5
Australia 31 - Spain 14
Sunday June 16
Australia 27 - Canada 17