Tonegato makes triumph return as Sevens women beat Fiji in Games tune up

Western Force captain Trilleen Pomare interview after her team's draw against the Preisdent's XV

The Australian women's rugby sevens team have begun final preparations for their Olympic title defence with a 31-10 win over Fiji in Townsville.

However the men's team were beaten 26-14 by Olympic gold medallists Fiji on the opening day of the three-day Oceania Rugby Sevens Challenge at Queensland Country Bank Stadium.

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Coach John Manenti's women's side cruised to victory off the back of stellar performances by captain Sharni Williams, Charlotte Caslick and the returning Emma Tonegato.

After a slow start Manenti said it was what he expected in their first hit-out of the pre-Games tournament.

"It was probably a typical opening performance that looked like full of rust for the first two or three minutes until we sort of got the right feel for it," he said.

"Happy enough for our first game in a while and a bit of pressure put on is, which is good."

A thrilling match between the two sides ending in a tie

The win marked the return of Tonegato from a shoulder injury, who admitted she was pleased to get through her first hit-out of 2021.

“It was really fast paced actually. It was good to get out there and make a couple of tackles,” she said.

“I threw a couple of wild passes so I’m still off the pace but I’m just happy to get out on the field.

“It was a good foundation, few things to work on and fix up so we’ll go home and work on that and come up against Oceania tonight and be better.”

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While the Aussie women shrugged off their initial rust, the men's side were clearly second best against perennial powerhouse Fiji. 

In other opening fixtures, New Zealand women thrashed Oceania women 51-0, while the New Zealand men comfortably saw off Oceania 27-5. 

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