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Aussies win World Title in Sevens power shift

Mon, 02/05/2022, 5:29 am
AAP
by AAP

Australian coach Tim Walsh has cheekily suggested the balance of power in women's rugby sevens has shifted after a thrilling defeat of New Zealand iced his team's drought-breaking World Series title.

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Walsh's side secured their first crown since 2018 on Monday, 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 medal at the previous four legs meant Walsh's side only needed to move beyond the quarter-final stage to claim the World Series title with one round remaining.

That dominance was helped by the fact New Zealand didn't feature until now, due to their country's COVID-19 restrictions.  

Australia hadn't beaten New Zealand since the Sydney leg of the 2018 series, a tournament the hosts famously won without conceding a point.

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But since then the Kiwis have dominated, beating Australia in extra time to win the 2018 Commonwealth Games gold and then adding Olympic gold in Tokyo last year when Australia missed the medals altogether.

"We have had some momentous battles and there's always a balance of power going on and after that it might have swung back a little bit (in Australia's favour)," Walsh told AAP.

"In the warm ups the energy between the sides was amazing; it was like a competition of who was having more fun and then you go out there and go to war.

"Winning and entertaining sort of doubles the emotion, so we're pretty stoked."

An Olympic review led to the coaches switching roles and it's yielded immediate success, the men now ranked third in the World Series with three legs remaining.

Rio gold medallist Charlotte Caslick remains the chief playmaker of a women's team that now features a host of emerging talent, like Dick and Madison Levi who starred in the decider.

Walsh said the manner of victory would serve them well ahead of the final World Series leg in Toulouse later this month and then Birmingham's Commonwealth Games in July.

"A good team will still have half their games coming down to the last play and you don't want to be flipping a coin over it," Walsh said.

"You want to be able to hold composure, do the basics well and they did that (in the final) and did it in an entertaining way.

"They're playing without fear; for a coach to get your team into that sort of flow is very rewarding."

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