Oceania Sevens - Women's Day 1 Wrap
Australia snared honours on the first day of the 2008 Oceania Sevens, finishing top of the Pool and setting themselves up for a semi-final clash with Samoa on the final day of competition tomorrow. Australia defeated New Zealand 15-5 in their last pool match on Day 1 to cap of a stellar international debut. Australia and New Zealand, who are both fielding their first ever national Women's Sevens teams, opened their respective 2008 Oceania Sevens campaigns in style.
New Zealand opened the tournament on a glorious day in the Samoan capital with a comfortable 29-0 win over Tournament Hosts, Samoa. The Samoan women started strongly and pressured the New Zealand Line for much of the opening half, but the kiwis remained calm and composed and punished the Samoan mistakes by scoring their first two tries from turnovers. Selica Winiata scoring two of New Zealand's 3 tries.
In the second women's match of the day, defending Oceania Women's Sevens champions Fiji scored an impressive 55-0 victory over Niue. The Fijians played with their trademark flare by running in 9 tries - two each to Varanisese Viva, Elma Ratuuluva and Atasa Likutokalau.
Fiji's second match was a much tougher affair, going down to Oceania Sevens debutants Australia 7-21. The Australians were impressive in nullifying the potent Fijian attack, limiting the Fijians, and their try scoring machine Viranisese Viva to just one try. Tricia Brown scored two of Australia's three tries in their opening victory.
Samoa bounced back from their disappointing opening to post a resounding 48-0 victory over Niue in their second match. The Samoans, coached by former Men's Sevens coach Dicky Tafua, were ruthless in disposing of the ladies from the Rock of Polynesia, with Seifono Misili scoring a hat trick.
Niue's day didn't get any easier after the lunch break, going down 59-0 to New Zealand. The kiwis posted 9 tries with three being scored by Huriana Manueal and two each to Kendra Cocksedge and Selica Winiata.
The Australians sounded their intentions loud and clear with an impressive 46-0 humbling of Samoa. Once again the Australians were clinical at the breakdown turning over a wealth of possession for their rampaging backline. In all, sevens players scored the 8 tries - with Tricia Brown getting another double.
New Zealand's Victoria Grant bagged three tries to steer the Kiwis to a 31-10 win over the Fijiana. The fast Fijians struggled to break the New Zealand line and find the open space that they thrive so much on.
Australia's 59-0 win over Niue set up a top of the table clash with New Zealand to determine the top two placings going into the Finals on Saturday. Australia's bold move to bring in national Touch representatives appears to be paying dividends as they ran in 9 tries in their demolition of Niue - with Nicole Beck getting 3 of them.
In the match to determine the top place in the preliminary competition, Australia burst out of the gates with a try to Tricia Brown - and were never headed by the Kiwis. Alex Hargreaves and Debby Hodgkinson scored the other tries for Australia while Hannah Porter scored New Zealand's lone try.
Australia face Samoa in the first semi final on Day 2 while New Zealand will play Fiji in the second semi final. Not only will the winners head into the final but they can also pack their bags for Dubai.