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Australia claim Commonwealth Games gold

Sun, 31/07/2022, 8:26 pm
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
The Australian Women's Sevens have stolen a thrilling final in Langford to take the World Series crown.

Australia have avenged the ghosts of Gold Coast, defeating Fiji 22-12 in the gold medal match at Birmingham.

The Australians enter as favourites after their semi-final heroics over New Zealand despite their defeat to the Fijians 24 hours earlier lingering over their heads.

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However, Tim Walsh's side have showcased their big match prowess across the World Series and looked calm and excited for the occasion as Advance Australia Flair blared across the Coventry Arena.

Whilst there was a slight miscue at kick-off, the Australians remained composed and capitalised on an early mistake as Faith Nathan opened the scoring inside three minutes.

Sevens stalwarts Sharni Williams and Charlotte Caslick showed their experience as they smothered the Fijian attack, forcing a 5 metre scrum after a series of loose passes.

This allowed Nathan to add her second after a long ball from Madison Ashby as they dominated proceedings.

Nathan's strong first half continued when she turned provider for Ashby, dotting down under the posts to take a 17-0 lead in the break.

Maddison Levi has been the breakout star from this tournament and cemented their status as the breakout player of the year across all formats with her tenth try of the event.

This extended the lead out to 22-0 as the Aussies looked to close out the game.

A late push by Fiji saw Ana Maria Naimasi dive over and give them a slim opening for a comeback.

In the end, the dominant first-half performance set up the victory as the Rio champions controlled the contest and closed out the game.

Not even a late yellow card to Charlotte Caslick and a try to Sesenieli Donu could damper the spirits as the Aussies pulled off the victory.

"It hasn’t really sunk in for me. I think the win over New Zealand was huge for us. Going into this…it was about that belief and figuring out that we weren’t just about that last game against Fiji," Williams said after the match,

“We believe in each other, we’ve done the work and we’ve fought through COVID. You know what’s expected.

"We have that accountability and whatever comes our way we deal with together.”

It marks the first time a team has won gold after falling in the group stages, a stark contrast from Tokyo where the Fijians knocked out the defending champions in the quarter-finals.

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