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Australia takes third at Kitakyushu Sevens

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The Australian Women's Sevens side have defeated Spain 19-5 to claim bronze at the HSBC Kitakyushu Sevens and maintain their lead on the World Series ladder.

The side’s first task was the Cup quarter final against Fiji who topped their pool on day one.  The Aussies coming out far more clinical on day two and after a tight first seven minutes, they piled on the points in the second half to finish 31-7 winners.


In a mouth-watering semi final, the Australian’s found themselves up against New Zealand in a rematch of last weekend’s Commonwealth Games gold medal match.  The Aussies off to a fast start and led by 12 points as half time closed in but it was the Black Ferns who finished stronger, running out 17-12 winners.

It was a rematch from their pool game yesterday and Australia were looking for redemption against Spain in the bronze medal clash.  The Spanish however started the faster and had first points before the Aussies were able to reel them in in the second half to take a 19-5 win and the bronze.

Qantas Australian Women's Sevens coach, John Manenti said: "I’d love to be playing in the final and I think we had our chances to do that against New Zealand, one of the more dominant performances we’ve had over the Kiwis for a while.”

“A few mistakes and a few lessons later, we turned around and backed up really well against Spain in the bronze medal match. I think all the young girls have done really well, the chance to play in a World Series, you can’t replicate that anywhere else so they’ll leave this week so much better.

“I learnt a hell of a lot in my first tournament as head coach and hopefully mistakes I don’t make again, the girls learnt a lot on the field and I learnt a lot off it. We’ll go to Langford with a lot of confidence after this,” Manenti said.

Australia 31 defeated China 7

It was a rematch of last year’s bronze medal match In Kitakyushu and the Aussies got off to the better start against Fiji who conceded a yellow card within the first minute.  19-year-old Demi Hayes making the most of the extra woman advantage, crossing for the opener thanks to some slick lead-up work from Emma Tonegato.  Tonegato scored herself soon after before Fiji enjoyed a one-woman advantage after Cherry was sent for two minutes on the sideline.  They capitalised almost immediately through Viniana Naisaluwaki Riwai who gave the Islanders their first points of the morning.  The Aussies hitting back, again Tonegato with a big hand in the try, this time with a superb offload to Emma Sykes who ran 50-metres plus to send the side to the half time break 17-7 in front.

The second half got off to the perfect start when Evania Pelite found herself on the end of some beautiful passing from her teammates, sprinting 75-metres for her first five-pointer of the day.  The points kept coming for the Aussies and Tonegato, as she showed quick feet to dance around three Fijian defenders and ice the 31-7 win for her side and send them through to a Cup semi final.

Australia 12 was defeated by New Zealand 17

It was a dream semi final for the spectators at Mikuni World Stadium and it was the dream start for the Australians as Evania Pelite stepped inside New Zealand skipper Sarah Goss to find the try line and put her side in front early.  Things got even better just 90-seconds later when Alicia Quirk drifted across field to open a hole for Emma Tonegato to run through to continue her superb try-scoring form and have the Aussies in front by 12.  The Australians went heavy on the attack as the first half came to a close but a spilled ball gave New Zealand an opportunity and they took it with both hands, Gayle Broughton outrunning Shannon Parry and Cassie Staples to have the score 12-7 at the break.

It was all New Zealand at the start of the second stanza as Australia struggled to get their hands on the ball.  Speedster Michaela Blyde got her side back within two points after some superb work at the breakdown from Goss.  The Aussies tried to fight back and Emma Sykes broke through the line only to get rounded up before the 22.  New Zealand pinching an intercept a couple of phases later and while the Australian defence showed plenty of fight, Tyla Nathan-Wong eventually broke through with 90-seconds left on the clock to score what would ultimately be the match-winner.  The score finishing 17-12, the same score as on the Gold Coast just one week earlier.

Australia 19 defeated Spain 5

Australia were out for redemption in the bronze medal match against Spain after falling to them yesterday in the pool games.  However, the match didn’t go to script early on when Spain found space on the edge and Ingrid Algar ran 60-metres to score the first try of the game.  The Aussies though immediately hitting back through Evania Pelite who showed her experience when she took a quick tap from a penalty to sprint from over half way to cross untouched for the side’s first.  The remaining minutes of the first stanza very tight as Spain began to slow the game down with the score remaining locked at 5-5 at the break.

The second half began as the first ended, with neither side able to find a breakthrough.  It eventually did come though, through superstar Emma Tonegato who scored in every game of the tournament bar one to put Australia in front for the first time in the match.  The redemption complete when Australia’s all-time leading try scorer Emilee Cherry added one more to her tally right on full time for the score to finish 19-5.

Kitakyushu Sevens day two results

Australian Women’s Sevens

Cup quarter final: Australia 31-7 Fiji

Cup semi final: Australia 12-17 New Zealand

3rd place playoff: Australia 19-5 Spain