- Rio 2016 Olympic gold medallists Australia crowned women’s champions, with Fiji taking silver and France bronze
- Brazil impress with a record high sixth place finish in highly competitive women’s event
- The Series continues with the second round in Dubai on 3-4 December as fans return to the Sevens Stadium
Australia were dominant in the women’s competition, winning every match to be crowned champions and win their first Series gold medal since 2018, after a 22-7 final win over Fiji.
Olympic silver medallists France claimed the women’s bronze in style with a resounding 40-0 victory over Russia.
Top seeds Australia brought a new-look young side to Dubai, but any lack of familiarity didn’t show as they put Fiji to the sword in the final to complete a hugely impressive campaign and bounce back following their fifth-place finish at the Olympics in Tokyo.
The only side of the 10 competing women’s teams to have previously won the Dubai title, most recently in 2017, the Australians scored 163 points and conceded 39 in their five matches.
Australia captain Demi Hayes scored a pair of tried in the victory over Fiji and was delighted with the result: “We’ve worked really hard this pre-season and we wanted to come out and start with a bang. After four undefeated games in our pool and then that final against Fiji we’re so stoked. We spoke about having a great attitude and leaving it all out on the field because we’ve worked so hard in pre-season.”
Reflecting on her first Series event as captain, Hayes added: “The girls did great and I’m so proud of them. Our wider squad goes from 1 to 20 and every person played a part in that win. I feel lucky and proud to lead them out. We’re definitely looking forward to next weekend but we won’t be putting ourselves on a pedestal, we’ll keep our expectations low and just focus on performing each and every game to try to get that win.”
Brazil were the most improved performers in a highly competitive women’s competition, recording an historic 12-10 victory over the USA to finish third in their pool. It was the South American’s first-ever win over the States and capped an excellent pool stage performance after they defeated Spain and only narrowly lost to France on day one.
A last-gasp Grace Compton try denied Brazil fifth place in a 22-21 play-off win for Great Britain, while USA beat Canada 17-7 to take seventh and Ireland defeated Spain 31-14 in the ninth place play-off.
Fiji had earlier put in a superb display in their final Pool B match to snatch top spot off Great Britain with a 28-5 victory. The British side were in pole position to reach the women’s Cup final after beating Canada 24-7 to make it three wins from three, but their heavy defeat to the Fijians saw them drop to third behind Russia, who defeated Ireland 14-5 and Canada 17-10 to reach the bronze medal match.
Fiji, Russia and Great Britain finished level on 10 points after each winning three games in a closely contested pool, but they finished in that order on points difference.
The men’s and women’s teams will do it all again next week as they stay in Dubai for the second round of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series on 3-4 December, this time with fans filling the stands at the Sevens Stadium.
The ten women’s teams are drawn in to two pools of five teams, with in form Australia drawn in pool A alongside Russia, Brazil, Canada and Spain. Pool B sees beaten finalists Fiji, bronze medallists France, Great Britain, USA and Ireland in what promises to be a very hard fought pool.
After the second round in Dubai the Series will take a break before returning in January when a pair of new host cities will welcome the best sevens players in the world as the Series arrives in the Spanish cities of Malaga and Seville on 21-23 and 28-30 January respectively.
With thanks to World Rugby