Australia have secured their first women’s rugby sevens World Series title since 2018, sweetening the deal with a try after the full-time siren to beat rivals New Zealand 21-17 in the final of the Langford, Canada round.
Trailing by three in the decider, Australia forced a turnover with just five seconds remaining and then defied exhaustion to control possession and carry the ball 85 metres before Lily Dick broke the line to score. Three wins and a bronze at the previous four legs meant Tim Walsh’s side
only needed a top-three finish to claim the world series title with one round remaining. That dominance was helped by the fact New Zealand hadn’t featured until now due to their country’s COVID-19 restrictions.
“It was so great to have New Zealand back; we’ve been looking forward to playing them for such a long time after not matching up in Tokyo (where New Zealand won Olympic gold),” Australian star Charlotte Caslick said. “It would have been bittersweet if we didn’t come away with a tournament win, so we’ll be celebrating pretty hard tonight.” The sides traded tries, Sharni Williams kicking both conversions to keep Australia ahead 14-10 late in the second half.
But when Michaela Blyde shrugged off two tackles to score with 90 seconds remaining it looked as if New Zealand would steal a win in their World Series return.
A crucial turnover at the breakdown came with just seconds to spare though, Caslick then throwing a bold, cut-out pass that found Dick for the match-winner. Victory ended a run of five defeats in finals to New Zealand, who have dominated the tour since pipping the hosts in overtime to claim the 2018 Commonwealth Games title on the Gold Coast. It sets up a tasty rematch later this year at Birmingham’s Commonwealth Games, although there is still the final World Series leg to be played in Toulouse later this month.