The second day of the Sydney Sevens action was hotter and drier, as teams still in contention for the tournament win fought it out in the first knockout round.
Ireland surged into their first World Series semi-final after a 22-7 win over Spain as the rain was easing. Captain Lucy Mulhall was happy to be performing, and growing in self-belief after a strong first day.
“Our coach set out a really good game plan and we stuck to it. I think there was a moment, a change in the mindset that we can compete with the top teams, so (the win over Canada) was really impressive for me.”
In the last quarter-final, Australia beat France in their first meeting since the semifinal at World Cup last year - but Ellia Green said she wasn’t focused on memories of the contest.
“We don’t like to hold onto the past, that’s definitely history. We’ve tried to focus on the now moment, and that’s our theme of the tournament - living in the now moment.”
Green is thriving in the senior ranks of a side with a few regulars missing.
“I came through the ranks pretty young, and I guess it’s my time to be a senior player and I’m enjoying being the best role model I can for our junior players.”
“We just know that we play for each other. No matter who’s on the field. All the girls in rehab have contributed to all the hard work of today.”
Australia built a lead with a few solid first half tries, conceding a couple late but holding on to keep their title defence hopes alive. Australian coach John Manenti was relieved with the result.
“I feel relieved, very much so. France are a quality side, they’ve been playing good, they’re tough, they match up really well against us. The conditions weren’t perfect for what we wanted to do, but we’re really happy to get through. it was really important from a qualification point of view, to try and put some space between us and France.”
Challenge Trophy action started with a pasting of PNG at the hands of England, perhaps inspired by their teammates, Jess Breach and Emily Scarratt who both featured heavily overnight in Six Nations play against Ireland. England were eventual runners up to fan favourites Fiji.