The Las Vegas Women’s sevens tournament lived up to expectations, as the Kiwi Sisters won their second title of 2016/17, the USA Sevens.
The New Zealand girls overcame the Olympic champions Australia 28-5 to extend their lead on the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series. The tournament which was held concurrent alongside the Men’s tournament, was a total success. New stars were unearthed, across all competing teams along with your household World Series names continuing their fine form.
North American sides reached the Cup semi final matches but were each unlucky, as the Oceania sides were in commanding form to gain back the series bragging rights. Denied a final berth, the Canadian girls won a tough ‘Americas’ match-up. to stay near the top of the standings. The US Eagles should not be downhearted, as they placed higher in this tournament, and can only improve over the season.
Those results, and others, were part of the USA Sevens experience of Sam Boyd Stadium [above], Las Vegas. The first year the women have been a part of the tournament–it was a great success.
Day Two results
Cup Quarter finals: Canada 33 France 0 | Fiji 7 Australia 22 | United States 20 Ireland 12 | New Zealand 26 Ireland 5
Cup Semi finals: Canada 17 Aus 26 | USA 7 NZL 12
USA Sevens: Kiwi Sisters Win Second Title
It was a see-saw battle in the opening stanza of the final, but the Kiwis pounced first through Ruby Tui. The winger-cum-forward (see main photo) was everywhere in the final, evading and hassling the Aussie forwards. She left one of the best in the business; Charlotte Caslick, biting her dust, on the way to the try line.
The Kiwi Sisters scored four tries in the final through Tui, leading try scorer Portia Woodman, Tyla Nathan-Wong and rookie Alena Saili. The Aussies lone try came at the end, which was scored by replacement Mahalia Murphy. The Olympic holders were outclassed in all facets of play.
The dynamic duo of Sharni Williams and Caslick were nullified, by in-your-face defensive lines. Their inside channel was cut off, as the Kiwis slowed their ball retention. Both Emma Tonegato and Elia Green were cut off from the game. On the winning team, Tui, Sarah Goss and Michaela Blyde continued to stamp their mark.
Canada Must Settle For Bronze Medal in Vegas
The three musketeers of Britt Benn, Ghislaine Landry and Jen Kish continue to take Canadian rugby to greater heights. They lead from the front and carried their hope of back-to-back titles but the Aussies wouldn’t gave them a chance in the Gold semis losing 17-26.
Benn was on fire in the bronze playoffs with Landry together with Bianca Farella. They were instrumental as they overcame the hosts United States 31-7. However, the United States continued it’s resurrection with Naya Tapper and Kristin Thomas on song. Team USA were humbled by the Kiwis in the other semi 12-7 in a close game. [both semifinals were a repeat of the showdown in Sydney]
Fijiana Cement Fourth Spot
Fiji continue to grow in every tournament. The Ana Maria Roqica led side retained their 5th place title from Sydney, after overcoming Russia 19-17. Lavenia Tinai continued her impressive form, so did Tima Ravisa and Rusila Nagasau. Their bench is still their problem, so if they find capable players to ease the workload from the bench, Fiji will be unstoppable.
In other results: France took 7th spot, defeating Ireland 15-5. Spain were too good for the struggling England side, winning 10-0 in a massive result, to claim the Challenge Trophy. Brazil walloped neighbours Argentina, to finish 11th overall.
Your Sevens Series ‘Dream Team’
In an amazing twist, the ‘player of the final’ was not a part of the Dream Team. Possibly, an aberration but there was a great number of performances across the weekend–Ruby’s was one of many.
DHL Performance Tracker
Over the two days, many women have made exceptional efforts. Among them was Tima Ravisa, who was awarded the DHL Tracker award for the USA Sevens. She is now tracking well on chasing down the top-placed women’s player; Alena Mikhaltsova.
HSBC Women’s Sevens Series Table
Now that the Kiwi ‘Sevens Sisters’ have claimed a second tournament, the gap has stretched slightly. Unlike the men, the challenge to recover points is not enormous, so expect plenty of pressure as teams move past the midpoint of the 2016/17 season.
The HSBC Women’s Sevens Series heads to Kitakyushu in Japan. The 12 sides will aim to continue the battle for the World Series on April 22-23.
“Main photo credit”