Australia’s women’s sevens team have put on an exhibition of slick ball movement, incisive running and breakdown smarts to outplay Fiji in the women’s rugby sevens final.
Apart from Sharni Williams putting the kick-off out on the full twice, it was a near perfect display of sevens rugby by the Australians who dominated the final and won the gold medal 22-12.
Charlotte Caslick was all movement and action, equal parts running threat and slick distributor. Three girls from Sydney’s northern beaches – Faith Nathan, her cousin Sariah Paki and Maddi Ashby – were threats with each touch.
And long-striding winger Maddison Levi scored her 10th try.
“I think in those physical contests, we dominated nearly every single one of those and that’s what we had to do,” Caslick said.
“I wouldn’t say it was perfect (performance) but it was close to.
“We’ve had an amazing World Series and been dominant year so to be rewarded in front of an awesome crowd is pretty special.”
But Australia had contributors across the park and became the first team to win gold after losing a pool game (to Fiji).
Nathan went over first after multiple strong carries by Paki. The ball movement was long and accurate, the recycling at the breakdown sharp.
Ashby then hurled it out to the other wing where Nathan crossed again. When Ashby crossed herself after fine long passing and angle running, it was 17-0 at half-time. Immediately after the break, more of the same. Caslick fed Dominique du Toit who bolted down field.
Caslick, a superstar, popped up again and tossed a perfect ball for Levi who scored on left, to cap her incredible tournament.
A semifinal loss to South Africa consigned the Australian men to the bronze medal match, which they lost to New Zealand by 26-12.
Leroy Carter crossed for New Zealand within a minute before Australia replied with a converted try to Josh Turner.
Just before the break Moses Leo beat Corey Toole on an edge and bolted 50 metres.
Just after the break Leo did the same from 60m after a loose pass and rushing but inaccurate Australian defence. Carter had a double, too, soon after from a scrum.
With time almost up, Australia went on a 90m movement with every player touching the ball before Henry Paterson bolted down the left and leapt into the corner to plant with his body outside the plane of play.
In the men’s gold medal match South Africa beat Fiji 31-7.
Muller du Plessis opened the scoring for the Blitzboks following multiple penalties and a long kick to his wing. JC Pretorious was the beneficiary on the same flank after long pass passing and breakdown dominance. South Africa had barely allowed Fiji to have the ball – always a good tactic when playing Fiji.
After another Fiji turnover Shaun Williams scored on the left edge. And at half-time it was 17-0.
It was immediately more of the same after the break: a turnover by Fiji – it’s what killed them – and long passing by South Africa saw a flying du Plessis touch down on the left. It was 24-nil.
Fiji captain Waisea Nacuqu scored under the posts but when Dewald Human fended off the cover and crossed out wide, South Africa owned the gold.
Rugby – The Roar