The quarter-finals for round one of the women’s sevens series have been decided after a thrilling day one in the Dubai heat.
With Olympic qualification at stake for the top four teams at the end of the series next May, intensity and skill levels stepped up even further from last season, with Australia on top of the standings after day one in Dubai. Their trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand are just behind them in second place, England in third and USA in fourth place.
Highlights here of today’s action.
New Zealand remained unbeaten in Pool A as they managed a win over China early in the day, followed by victories over USA and Russia. Pool B saw wins for Australia against South Africa, France and Spain, conceding just 10 points over the three matches at 7he Sevens stadium. Pool C came down to a thriller at the end of the day, which saw England beat Canada 17-12 in a re-run of the Women’s Rugby World Cup 2014 final. Earlier Canada had secured impressive wins over Brazil and Fiji, while England kept Fiji scoreless (26-0) and followed with a 29-10 win over Brazil.
USA attacker Victoria Folayan was the day’s top scorer with 35 points, coming from seven tries during the day.
Speaking after the match, Sean Horan said: “We started well but we had a wake-up call against USA, they really threw everything at us. We’ve shown that we’ve got some depth, but you have to put things into perspective; we only had two girls on the field from the Rugby World Cup Sevens 18 months ago, so yeah, we have some work to do.”
With Olympic qualification on the line at the end of the series, England captain Abi Chamberlain knows the importance of a top four finish. Speaking after their victory against Canada, she said she was happy with her team’s performance on day one. “We couldn’t hope for more. The target was three from three and we nailed it. Canada was our biggest challenge today and we are glad to win this one, ” said Chamberlain.
Day two at the Sevens stadium the quarter final draw will see:
Australia v Fiji
New Zealand v Russia
England v France
USA v Canada
Friday’s bowl semi-finals will see South Africa face China and Spain take on Brazil.
All the action from round one of the women’s series in Dubai will again be streamed live on worldrugby.org on Friday, with some geo-blocking in place. The first cup quarter-final gets underway at 10.00 local time (GMT +4).