Australia entered the second day of the Sydney Sevens, first in their pool.
Australia then gained the ball again quickly after the kickoff. Initially passing from left to right, they then moved the ball forwards in the opposite direction with a final pass to Demi Hayes. Hayes scored the second try of the match in the 2’ minute. This put the Australians up 12-0.
The French did not give in though. The match became a physical fight on the wet Parramatta grass. At one point Ellia Green needed attention due to a facial injury and bleeding. Each team gained ground through a series of phases, the possession changing hands several times.
Just before halftime, it looked as if Green would run the ball to a try. However, a French defender took her down about 30 meters from the try line. The scoreline remained 12-0 entering halftime.
The French started the second half with possession of the ball. After committing a handling error, Australia gained possession. Caslick missed a passed that led to France retrieving it only for Australia to intercept it.
The ball changed hands several more times, largely through French mistakes and Australian penalties. However, around the 10’ minute France were able to keep possession and move forward. Lina Guerin received a pass on the right-hand side of the pitch and ran to France’s first try of the match. With 3 mins left the scoreline was 12-5.
The Aussies received possession of the ball. Through several phases, and good passing play, they moved the ball up the field. However, a penalty turned the ball over to France. A Caslick tackle led to a French handling error and Australia retrieving the ball, only for a further penalty to return the ball to France.
The French attempted to move up the field but the Australian defense was constant and unrelenting. In the final minute of the match, Joanna Grisez received the ball of a pass and scored a second French try. France failed to convert putting the scoreline to 12-10.
After the restart fell short of the 10-metre mark, Australia gained the ball and kicked it out to win the bronze medal by two points.
As the Tokyo Olympics come closer this weekend’s results show that Australia has a lot to work on.
While Australia once again showed their capability to dominate less physical teams through better tactics, skill, and pace, they continued to falter against top-ranked nations. The physical nature of France, and subsequently Canada, demonstrated that Australia can be contained defensively.
They were often outmuscled, especially at the breakdown, and at times seemed inconsistent and lacking discipline. Better decision making and composure when facing adversity is arguably also needed.
A bright spot for Australia was the return of Charlotte Caslick from injury. She was the star of the first day of the tournament and was named to the Sydney 7s HSBC Dream Team.
At present the Aussie women have three more tournaments left in this series. They will have to wait nearly three months until the next one, the Hong Kong 7s, which takes place from the 03-05 of April 2020.
They will enter that tournament still ranked second. After today’s New Zealand first place and Canada second place, Australia are tied on 80 points with Canada. New Zealand now has a 16 points gap, sitting on 96 points in first place.
Arguably it would take incredible improvement on Australia’s part, and one or two bad showings from New Zealand’s to give the Aussies a chance to win the series.
Every try scored by Australian raised 1500 for the Bushfire fund. In total Australia’s women raised $22500, combined with the men over $40000.
"And she's put us up over $40,000 as well"@Aussie7s are off to a flying start. Every try they score Rugby Australia, World Rugby and Partners are donating $1,500 dollars to the bushfires appeal.#Sydney7s pic.twitter.com/GNdEGbD0PK— World Rugby Sevens (@WorldRugby7s) February 2, 2020