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Pearls show Australia's depth at Super 7s

Teams staying on from the Sydney 7s were joined in Brisbane this weekend by other teams preparing for the World Series qualifier and the Commonwealth Games at the Brisbane Super 7s.

Australia's rising stars win the Brisbane Super 7s

Australia, playing as their Pearls development team but fielding some players from the winning team at the Sydney 7s, were winners of the Brisbane Super 7s this weekend, a tournament that probably had the strongest line-up of teams this year outside the World Series.

Eight of the sixteen teams (all national squads) played in conventional round robin pools on Day One, while the remaining four national teams and local invitational sides competed in a straight knockout, similar to that planned for the World Cup.

Most teams used squads larger than the usual World Series 12, and some leading players were being rested. In addition to Australia, France and the United States were fielding teams that were at least nominally development sides, though the USA team selected was rather more than that. Nonetheless most players taking part had World Series experience, with many veterans of Rio in 2016.

After disappointing results in Sydney, both England and the United States had an encouraging opening day, winning their pools, in England’s case without dropping a point. South Africa (with a World Series qualifier, Commonwealth Games and World Cup ahead of them) also reached the quarter-finals, dropping just one try to Sweden.

Wales, who had prioritised this tournament over the Six Nations, were caught cold in their opening game against the French Development team and as a result missed out on the last eight, despite a good performance against the USA and win over Poland.

The sudden death Pool C saw wins for all of the international teams in the first round, which effectively sent all of these teams into the last eight.

On Day two one of the best matches of the tournament came in the quarter-finals where the French Development team continued to excel, beating a strong England team by 20-10. The other pool winner – the USA – also fell at this stage, South Africa continuing their opening day form to beat then 21-19.

Fijian magic was on display in the first semi-final where France’s run came to an end, while the young Aussie Pearls was too strong for the USA Falcons at the same stage.

Fiji took a early lead in the final, but the greater fitness of the Pearls in the end told over the artistry of the Fijians, giving the home crowd the result they came to see.

South Africa ended third overall, comfortably beating the impressive French development team in the playoff, though both management teams will have been pleased with their weekend.

England ended as Plate winners with only the defeat to France counting against them all weekend, while Wales, who had also suffered at the hands of the French, improved throughout the rest of the tournament to reach the Bowl final where they were just pipped by the Macquarrie University team in the final seconds who had similarly seen off Sweden in the Plate semi-finals.

Finally, one the best supported teams over the weekend was Poland, playing outside Europe for the first time, and they were cheered on to lift the Shield with a good win over Papua New Guniea.

Results

Pool A: South Africa 22-0 PNG; England 40-0 Sweden; South Africa 12-5 Sweden; England 57-0 PNG; Sweden 32-0 PNG; England 31-0 South Africa

Pool B: USA 19-5 Poland; France Development 31-0 Wales; USA 26-17 Wales; France Development 17-7 Poland; USA 22-5 France Development; Poland 10-33 Wales

Pool C: Fiji 24-7 QAS2; Australia 27-0 QAS1; Spain 39-0 Macquarrie; Japan 19-10 Tribe

Bowl/Shield: QAS2 0-27 Macquarrie; QAS1 15-5 Tribe; Sweden 20-12 Poland; PNG 7-22 Wales

Shield SF: Poland 24-5 QAS2; Tribe 21-24 PNG

Shield Final: Poland 22-10 PNG

Bowl SF: Macquarrie 38-14 Sweden; Wales 22-19 QAS1

Bowl Final: Macquarrie 17-14 Wales

Cup/Plate QF: Fiji 10-5 Spain; Australia 31-5 Japan; England 10-20 France Development; USA 19-21 South Africa

Plate SF: Spain 12-10 England; Japan 28-12 USA

Plate Final: England 45-10 Japan

Cup SF: Fiji 35-17 France Development; Australia 38-5 South Africa

Third place; South Africa 29-14 France Development

Final: Australia 24-10 Fiji

Squads:

Australia (Aussie Pearls)

1. Dominique Du Toit 2. Page Mcgregor 3. Georgie Friedrichs 4. Demi Hayes 5. Cassie Staples 6. Shannon Parry 7. Charlotte Caslick 8. Evania Pelite 9. Yasmin Meakes 10. Katie Harrison 11. Lauren Brown 12. Grace Kaihau 13. Alysia Lefau-Fakaosilea 14. Lily Dick 15. Mahalia Murphy

England

1. Jess Breach 2. Abbie Brown 3. Lydia Thompson 4. Emily Scarratt 5. Sarah Mckenna 6. Deborah Fleming 7. Heather Fisher 8. Emily Scott 9. Alex Matthews 10. Megan Jones 11. Holly Aitchison 12. Amy Wilson Hardy 13. Vicky Fleetwood 14. Katie Mason 15. Natasha Hunt

France Development

1. Julie Annery 2. Brandy Cazorla 4. Julie Coudert 5. Camile Mart 6. Yolaine Yengo 7. Celia Dranes 8. Joanna Sainlo (C) 10. Ian Jason 11. Lea Murie 12. Joanna Grisez

Japan (Cherry Blossoms)

1. Emii Tanaka 2. Yukari Tateyama 3. Ava Nakajima 4. Ayano Sakurai 5. Sayaka Suzuki 6. Mei Otani 7. Fumiko Otake 8. Amy Pete Someya 9. Tomomi Kozasa 10. Miho Matsunaga 11. Rinka Matsuda 12. Riho Kurogi

Papua New Guinea (Palais)

1. Gemme Schnaubelt 2. Chelsea Garesa 3. Mavis Mitaharo 4. Taiva Lavai 5. Marie Biyama 6. Yolanda Gittins 7. Fatima Rama 8. Geua Larry 9. Lynette Kwarula 10. Debbie Kaore 11. Freda Waula 12. Marlugu Dixon 13.151 Govea 14. Nina Stain

Poland

1. Hanna Maliszewska 2. Angelika Singel 3. Aleksandra Lesniak 4. Magdalena Korona 5. Laura Abucewicz 6. Katarzyna Paszczyk 7. Anna Klichdwska 8. Karolina Jaszczyszyn (C) 9. Marta Jarecka 10. Monika Pietrzak 11. Natalia Pamieta 12. Marlena Mroczynska 13. Julianna Schuster 14. Agnieszka Kowalczyk

South Africa

1. Unathi Mali 2. Megan Comley 3. Rights Mkhari 4. Christelene Steinhobel 5. Zinhle Ndawonde 6. Mathrin Simmers 7. Crane Stadler 8. Eloise Webb 9. Zintle Mpupha (C) 10. Veroeshka Grain 11. Nadine Roos 12. Zenay Jordaan

Spain

1. Ingrid Algar 2. Uribarri Barrutieta 3. Amaia Erbina 4. Patricia Garcia 5. Marina Bravo 6. Elisabeth Martinez 7. Barbara Pla 8. Eva Aguirre 9. Maria Casado 10. Anne Fernandez De Corres 11. Iera Echebarria 12. Maria Ribera

Sweden

1. Tova Berk 2. Rebecca Kearney (Vc) 3. Sanna Westman 4. Mikaela Korpysz 5. Sara Jacobson 6. Victoria Pettersson 7. Carina Trinh 8. Emelia Kristiansson (C) 9. Minonna Nunstedt 10. Emelie Hellgren 11. Ylva Schwartz 12. Emma Skagerlind

USA Falcons

1. Hope Rogers (C) 2. Abby Gustaitis 3. Cheta Emba 4. Cassidy Bargell 5. Sarah Buonopane 6. Kelsi Stockert 7. Kasey Mcgreavy 8. Neariah Persinger 9. Natalie Kosko 10. Alena Olsen 11. Ashlee Byrge 12. Saskia Morgan 13. Napa Tapper 14. Alev Kelter

Wales

1. Jasmine Joyce 2. Laurie Harries 3. Ffion Lewis 4. Elinor Snowsil 5. Sian Williams 6. Philippa Tutiett 7. Kayleigh Powell 8. Hannah Jones 9. Charlie Murray 10. Sioned Harries 11. Lemma Rowland 12. Shona Powell-Hughes 13. Lucy Packer