Aussie within touching distance of maiden World Series title
29 May 2016
RUGBY SEVENS: The Qantas Australian Women's Sevens team are just one win away from clinching the country's first-ever World Series title.
Australia will play Spain in the Cup Quarter-Finals in Clermont-Ferrand, France (9.04pm AEST) on Sunday evening having beaten Fiji (34-0), Ireland (40-5) and hosts France (19-12) on Day One.
A win over Spain - and qualification for the Cup Semi-Finals - will give Australia an unassailable lead at the top of the 2015-16 World Rugby Women's Sevens standings.
Qantas Australian Women's Sevens Head Coach Tim Walsh said: "I thought we executed our game plan well throughout the day and to win three games against three tough opponents is never easy.
"Of course we are happy with our day's work but we are acutely aware that tomorrow first-up is our most important game. We're going to prepare like any other day and we don't want any regrets."
On the Cup Quarter-Final clash with Spain, who famously eliminated Australia at the same stage during the 2013 Rugby Sevens World Cup, Walsh added: "They play with such aggression and never, ever give up. That's why they have beaten New Zealand and the USA a couple of times.
"We'll have to ensure we're right on our game from the get-go. Spain will have our complete and utter respect - obviously the aim from there is to win and take it from there and go deep into this tournament."
Walsh also confirmed there were no injury worries in the camp heading into Finals Day.
Despite not getting on the scoresheet herself, it was Charlotte Caslick who was the chief architect as Australia saw off Fiji in their six-tries-to-nil tournament opener against Fiji.
After the Fijiana dominated early possession, Emma Tonegato's 49th and 50th tries on the Sevens World Series circuit gave the Aussies the edge. Chloe Dalton and the returning Ellia Green added further tries before half-time and Amy Turner and Evania Pelite completed the rout in the second half.
Walsh's side turned on the style against an Ireland side that has caused them one or two problems already this season. Ireland controlled the opening stages without looking threatening and it was wing wizard Ellia Green who scored first when she broke the shackles of the opposition defence to streak clear score on the left.
Sharni Williams and Tiana Penitani crossed over either side of half-time to extend the lead and even though Lucy Mulhall pulled one five-pointer back for Ireland, further tries from Green, Chloe Dalton and Alicia Quirk put the final outcome well and truly beyond doubt.
In the final game of the day in Pool C and in front of a partisan crowd at the Stade Gabriel Montpied, Australia opened the scoring with a sensational try that saw Nicole Beck break clear and find Alicia Quirk who made no mistake from close range. However, buoyed by home support, the French hit back when Camille Grassineau fended off the challenge of Tiana Penitani to score on the right.
Beck once again made a break in the final minute of the opening stanza and after the ball was worked through several sets of hands, Evania Pelite found Shannon Parry to cross the whitewash. Ellia Green put the tie out of reach for the home nation when she streaked clear for her fourth try of the weekend and though Caroline Ladagnous scored after the siren, it proved no more than a consolation.
In tomorrow's other Cup Quarter-Finals in Clermont-Ferrand, in-form England play the USA, New Zealand take on hosts France and Canada will meet Fiji.
Worldrugby.org will stream all of the action on Day Two up to and including the Cup Semi-Finals. FOX SPORTS 2 only will broadcast all of the action from the Bowl Final onwards.
Qantas Australian Women's Sevens results in Clermont-Ferrand, France, 28-29 May:
Australia 34-0 Fiji, Pool C
Australia 40-5 Ireland, Pool C
Australia 19-12 France, Pool C
Qantas Australian Women's Sevens fixture in Clermont-Ferrand, France, 29 May:
Australia v Spain, Cup Quarter-Final, 9.04pm AEST
Australian Rugby Union