New Zealand women dominate to win Atlanta 7s

Mar 16 • General News, International, Sevens Rugby • 1427 Views • Comments Off on New Zealand women dominate to win Atlanta 7s

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New Zealand 50 USA 12

The New Zealand Women’s Sevens team have claimed their third tournament title in the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series, after demolishing USA 50-12 in the Atlanta Sevens final today.

Outstanding flyer Portia Woodman touched down five times in the Final to end the tournament with 14 tries in another key performance for the side.

New Zealand had beaten the United States 57-0 in pool play while the United States qualified after beating Australia 10-5 in pool play.

Australia, who New Zealand played in the two earlier Finals of the series, suffered two injuries within a few moments to key players and the US had capitalised on those to score their upset win.

New Zealand now lead the series with 60 points, Canada and Australia are second equal on 48 points while France are fourth with 38 points and the United States are fifth with 36.

Coach Sean Horan was delighted with the third tournament win of the series and while the side looks good for qualification for next year’s Olympic Games he wasn’t prepared to concede that yet, saying a top four finish in the fourth round of the series in Canada next month would achieve that goal.

He said the side were given a reminder of what was required to win when taken close by Canada 24-22 in their semifinal. The scores were tied at 17-17 before Woodman’s try was converted, a vital conversion, as Canada scored last but just missed landing an equalising conversion.

“They really came out and took it to us and it was a physical contest. We half expected it and it was 12-12 at half-time.

“But it gave us a foundation to build on and we showed some of the character we have been developing. Sevens is a hard sport and you have to be ruthless.

“We showed a lot of faith in each other and our tactical awareness was good. We learnt a hell of a lot from it,” he said.

They also used their experience from the second tournament in Sao Paulo where they beat France convincingly 54-0 in pool play and then had a close encounter before winning 12-5 in the semi-finals to cope with the Americans in the final.

Kayla McAlister and Woodman demonstrated New Zealand’s intent from the outset of the Final in setting up the first try while Honey Hireme followed with the second.

Woodman’s class saw her score two more tries before New Zealand went to half-time leading 24-0, the second in her hat-trick coming from deep within the Seven Sisters’ half and after a poor pass.

Hireme opened the scoring in the second half and while Bui Baravilala gave the Atlanta crowd something to cheer about with a converted try, Woodman had the final say with two more tries to complete 14 in the tournament.

It was left to captain Sarah Goss to apply the finishing touches with the final try while Hannah Lopez scored a consolation for the United States.

The United States qualified by scoring a 19-14 win over Russia in their semifinal.

Horan said Woodman and McAlister were special athletes with a unique ability to get New Zealand out of jams.

Honey Hireme’s return to the side after a break had allowed her to demonstrate her value in the strike-type role she has.

Hireme had a bit of a break from the side last year but Horan felt she was now in better nick than before and close to being back to her best.

“Hunger is a big part of our success and she has shown that,” he said.

With four new players in the squad for the Atlanta leg he was delighted with the development of the side.

The next tournament in the Series will be played in Langford Canada next month.

Atlanta USA 14-15 March

Finals on 15 March

Semifinal New Zealand 24 – Canada 22
Quarterfinal New Zealand 36 Brazil 0

Pool Play – 14 March
New Zealand 17 v Russia 12

New Zealand 52 v South Africa 0

New Zealand 57 v USA 0

World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series tournaments

Dubai (won by New Zealand)
November 2014

Sao Paulo, Brazil (won by New Zealand)
7-8 February

Atlanta, USA (won by New Zealand)
14-15 March

Langford, Canada
18-19 April

London, England
15-16 May

Amsterdam, Netherlands
22-23 May

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