The Qantas Australian Women’s Sevens team will play the United States in the Cup Quarter-Finals at the Atlanta Sevens after winning three from three in the pool stages at the Fifth-Third Bank Stadium overnight.
Australia defeated Fiji (36-0), Spain (24-7) and France (19-7) in an awkward-looking Pool B to progress safely through to the knockout stages.
Qantas Australian Women’s Sevens Head Coach Tim Walsh believes there is more to come from his side on Finals Day in Atlanta. He said: “It wasn’t our best day but I’m pleased with three wins. If we are to contest for a title tomorrow we will need to improve our ball possession and eliminate handling errors.”
On the challenge of facing the hosts, Walsh added: “The USA will be formidable opponents for us. They are demonstrating speed, aggression and passion. If we are to win, we will need to exceed what our opponents bring to the match. We have prepared well and I anticipate the girls will bring what is required.”
In one of the toughest games of the opening day, Australia finished the pool stages by seeing off the challenge of France in a feisty encounter. A fine team move involving a break from skipper Sharni Williams and composed interplay between Charlotte Caslick, Emma Tonegato and then Chloe Dalton set Emilee Cherry clear to dot down under the posts. Caroline Ladagnous responded for France to level matters, but Cherry then smoothly dissected Les Bleus defence to hand the Aussies back the advantage. Another moment of magic from the 22-year-old Queenslander confirmed the win that saw Tim Walsh’s side top Pool B.
In the opening game of the tournament against Fiji, the Aussies get their campaign off to a flying start with a comfortable win over the islanders.
With Charlotte Caslick at her probing best in midfield throughout a one-sided contest, Emma Tonegato, Sharni Williams and Shannon Parry all scored in the opening period. Caslick added a brilliant individual try from her own half to open her Atlanta account before debutant Brooke Walker assisted for Tonegato to score late on.
Spain were the next victims as Tiana Penitani fended off all-comers to score a fine solo try with Chloe Dalton adding another five-pointer in the fourth minute of the first half. Charlotte Caslick was then too quick for the Spanish defence on the left wing to score the 23rd try of her Sevens World Series career to open up a 19-point advantage. Paula Media reduced the arrears for the Spaniards but Ellia Green benefited from an Alicia Quirk pass with three minutes to play to seal the win.
Elsewhere in tomorrow’s other Cup Quarter-Finals, series leaders New Zealand will play Brazil, England take on Russia while Canada face off against France.
Fans can catch all of the action from Finals Day at the Atlanta Sevens via worldrugby.org/womens-sevens-series/ from 3am AEDT on Monday 16 March. FOX SPORTS 1 will broadcast LIVE from Atlanta from 8am AEDT on Monday 16 March.
For image from Day One in Atlanta, click here
Qantas Australian Women’s Sevens results in Atlanta, USA, 15 March:
Australia 36-0 Fiji, Pool B
Australia 24-7 Spain, Pool B
Australia 19-7 France, Pool B
Qantas Australian Women’s Sevens fixture in Atlanta, USA, 16 March:
Australia v USA, Cup Quarter-Final, 3.44am AEDT