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Rugby-Australia seal World Series sevens title in Canada

Rugby-Australia seal World Series sevens title in Canada

reuters.com · 05/02/2022 02:47
Rugby-Australia seal World Series sevens title in Canada

- Australia's women sealed their third rugby sevens World Series title in Langford, Canada on Sunday, capping the event with a last-gasp 21-17 win over returning powerhouse New Zealand.

With New Zealand's "Black Ferns" missing the four previous events due to COVID-19 concerns, Australia claimed their fourth gold medal of the series at Langford to wrap up the championship ahead of the Toulouse finale later this month.

Australia went into the Langford final against the Black Ferns with the Series won but were determined to sign off with a win over the Olympic champions, said coach Tim Walsh.

"It has been so good to have NZ back on the circuit," he said.

"We both love the competitive encounters and the challenges we impose on each other.

"To win the World Series is a remarkable and memorable experience for all involved, and to do it with an exceptional win showing resilience and character multiplies the emotions."

Playing their first World Series event in over two years, the Cory Sweeney-coached Black Ferns came within seconds of winning the gold medal in Canada but lost captain Sarah Hirini with a minute left when team mate Portia Woodman put an inadvertent elbow into the skipper's face.

Hirini came off with blood streaming and New Zealand conceded a string of breakdown penalties, paving the way for Australia's Lily Dick to score the match-winning try.

"I felt so bad doing that to Sarah, said Woodman of the elbow.

"I think she said, 'Because it was you it wasn't so bad', but I felt awful."

All nine World Series have been won by either Australia or six-times champions New Zealand.

The rivalry will continue at the July-August Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

(Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

((ian.ransom@thomsonreuters.com; Follow me on Twitter https://twitter.com/MyRansomNotes; +61 3 9286 1447;))