New Zealand, Blyde power to victory over Australia in LA

Mon, Mar 4, 2024, 2:08 AM
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
The Aussies went down to NZ in the LA Final. Photo: World Rugby
The Aussies went down to NZ in the LA Final. Photo: World Rugby

New Zealand have added another chapter to the trans-Tasman rivalry with a 29-14 win over Australia in the LA Final.

It is the Kiwis' second win in two weeks after missing the Finals in Cape Town and Perth.

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Australia Women's side opened the day with a 26-5 win over Series improvers Brazil thanks to a Maddison Levi hat-trick.

They then had to dig deep for a 26-19 win over the hosts USA, with Faith Nathan scoring after the siren to break the deadlock and set up another final against the Black Ferns Sevens.

The Final was brought to a sudden halt when Kiwi young gun Jorja Miller was left out on the ground after she copped an incidental leg to the head trying to tackle Bella Nasser.

It didn’t stop the Kiwis' momentum as Michaela Blyde scored the opener in the corner.

Charlotte Caslick hit straight back for the Aussies, capitalising on a break from Sharni Smale, only for Blyde to add her second with a great solo effort.

It went from bad to worse for the Australians when Maddison Levi was yellow-carded for a high shot. Levi got Shiray Kaka high, however, showed enough of a dip to only warrant a yellow card.

The Aussies scrambled in defence to only go down 12-7 at the break but couldn’t stop Risi Pouri-Lane a minute into the second half, named Player of the Final.

Portia Woodman-Wickliffe extended the lead shortly afterwards to give New Zealand a 22-7 lead as the Australians struggled with their restart.

Levi returned from the bin and looked to spark the comeback with a length-of-the-field try with three minutes to go.

However, Blyde and New Zealand delivered the killer blow with her third try of the game to seal the title.

Meanwhile, the Men finished seventh after a convincing win over the USA.

James Turner starred as he got the opening try, followed over by Matt Gonzalez. The two combined for Turner's second for a 19-7 lead at the break.

The Americans continued to press but Turner's third sealed the win and seventh place in Los Angeles.

It comes after the Aussies swept their group, falling to Great Britain in the quarter-finals.

“We had three good games at the start and then we got done by GB last night which is disappointing and we dropped down into the seventh/eighth place game,” Josh Turner said.

“We played a hell of a game then but that’s not what we want to be playing for. You’ve got to win the games at the end of the tournament and we had a good ending.

“It’s just that consistency. You can have your ups and downs, we’ve just got to figure out how to have six good games and finish like that.”

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