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Room to improve for Sevens champions

Tue, 13/09/2022, 7:53 am
by AAP
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Australian women's rugby sevens co-captain Demi Hayes says her side still has room for improvement despite winning the World Cup for a second time this week.

The Australians claimed their first World Cup since 2009 with a two-point victory over cross-Tasman rivals New Zealand, completing a 2022 Triple Crown after their Commonwealth Games and world series titles.

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Though Australia ultimately triumphed on Sunday, Hayes was disappointed the final was only decided after the siren through a missed conversion attempt by New Zealand's Tenika Willison.

"We shouldn't have let it come to that moment where there was a kick between a draw and a win," Hayes told reporters on Tuesday.

"We want to keep winning. That's how you grow the sport in Australia."

Hayes said the win was important not just as a testament to their hard work, but to acknowledge the female athletes before them who worked hard to develop their current program.

Player of the final and Olympic gold medallist Sharni Williams said she felt for Willison after the straightforward conversion attempt - which could have levelled the scores at 24-all - having been in a similar situation in missing a key conversion at the Tokyo Olympics.

"It's pretty tough obviously on Tenika WIllison - I've been there before and I know what it feels like," Williams said.

"Sending love out to her because that can be pretty career-changing."

However, coach Tim Walsh says tight margins were part of the nature of rugby sevens.

"Sevens is a game where it's won and lost on margins," said Walsh.

"We just defended and defended. It's obviously relieving but also incredibly rewarding." 

Walsh coined their World Cup campaign as the 'Courage Campaign' to encourage the girls "to leave everything out there and win the Triple Crown".

Rising star Faith Nathan, who scored the try that put Australia ahead for the last time in the final, said she hoped the win would encourage girls to pursue a career in the sport.

"We're hoping that more girls would like to play rugby sevens, to pursue a dream," said Nathan.

"We're hoping that we just push them more, to encourage them to go forward."

The Rugby Sevens Women's team are looking to win the 2022-23 Sydney Sevens and qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Asked whether the team thinks they can win the Olympics, Walsh offered a simple answer: "Of course we do."


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