Australia were drawn in Pool B of this tournament alongside Russia, Brazil and the USA.  There are three pools, hence twelve teams, competing in Hamilton’s women’s competition.

The first day of competition, Saturday the 24th of January, saw Australia face Brazil and Russia. In both matches Australia not only demonstrated their skill and pace but also the intelligence in their play.

In their first pool game against Brazil, the Aussies won the match 24-14.  The third and fourth tries of the game were scored by Emma Sykes and Ellia Green respectively, in the second half.

The star of the Brazil match though was Emilee Cherry, who scored back to back tries in the first half. It was Cherry’s first performance since returning from maternity leave.  The 27-year-old gave birth to her daughter eight months ago.

The second match against Russia was a blistering six Aussie try game.  Ellia Greene, a converted runner, showed her pace with the first try. After the Russians answered this with a try of their own, Cassandra Staples immediately responded by scoring back to back tries.

Alicia Lucas opened the account in the second half with Australia’s fourth try.  The nicest try of the match though came from Emilee Cherry.  She received the ball by kicking an interception off a kicked Russian pass.  

After picking up the ball, running it and passing it to Emma Tonegato, Cherry then received a subsequent pass from Tonegato to score Australia’s fifth try of the game.

Australia were not done though. In the second to last minute of the game teenager Sariah Paki received an offload and ran through a Russian gap to give Australia its sixth and final try of the second pool match. 

Paki then unfortunately received a yellow card for a knock on in the final minute of the match, which allowed the Russians the space to score a second try as the clock went into extra time.  The Aussies won the match 40-12.

Australia are currently equal to the US in games won in Pool B, leading the group in points difference. They will face the Americans in their final pool match on Sunday the 25th of January at 9:51 Hamilton time.

Should the Aussies win that match and top their group, or finish the top second place team, they will qualify for the semi-finals of the tournament.  The winners of both semi-finals then go on to the Hamilton final.  All remaining matches will occur on Sunday.