Defending champions Australia topped their pool on day one of the Sydney Sevens women’s tournament at Spotless Stadium on Saturday despite suffering a shock defeat by the United Staets. New Zealand and Ireland also finished first in their groups on a day of upsets at the HSBC Sydney Sevens at Spotless Stadium on Saturday.
USA knew they needed to beat Australia in Pool C, as they had in both Glendale and Dubai this season, to guarantee their quarter-final spot and they produced a dominant first-half display to lead 19-0 with tries from Jordan Gray-Matyas, Kirshe and Tapper. Australia were stunned and simply had no answer, although they did rally with two late scores through Pelite and the returning Tonegato.
That proved to be enough for top spot after Spain battled past China 14-12 in the final match of the day, Patricia Garcia crucially converting both her own and Echebarria’s tries against the Asian side who had shown how their game has developed in their back on the series as a core team.
The USA needed a huge second-half effort to overcome China in their opening match with tries from Joanne Fa’avesi, Kris Thomas and debutant Kristi Kirshe securing a 26-10 victory.
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The Black Ferns Sevens, who have now won 33 consecutive matches on the series since their Cup final loss in Sydney a year ago, were the only side with a perfect record after seeing off the challenge of France, England and invitational side Papua New Guinea to top Pool A.
Their reward is a Cup quarter-final with Canada – the side they beat in the Dubai final in November – after the North Americans suffered defeats to Ireland and Russia and narrowly edged out England for the second-best third-placed team spot in the last eight.
Russia’s win earned them a meeting with USA, who bounced back from a surprise loss to Spain in round two to defeat Australia 19-12 in the Pool C decider.
Ireland, as Pool B winners, will take on Spain in the third quarter-final after the Spanish were one of three teams tied on seven points in Pool C but with a worse points difference than Australia and USA.
The remaining quarter-final pits Pool C winners Australia against France, the Pool A runners-up.
Report edited from World Rugby media release