We look back on Day One of the Women’s Sevens World Series opener in Dubai.
New Zealand, Australia and Russia were the three unbeaten sides on the day, though Russia drew a pool game.
New Zealand were the real form team on the opening day, looking comfortable in all three of their games in Pool A against Ireland, Fiji and USA. Kayla McAlister was in excellent form to lead the scoring charts, while Linda Itunu and Honey Hireme were also prominent. Alison Miller and Ashleigh Baxter caught the eye for Ireland but they were outclassed by New Zealand and Fiji. USA relied heavily on Jillian Potter and Rebekah Siebach but will be delighted to remain in the Cup. Fiji will consider themselves very unlucky not to have placed higher in the pool. They held the lead against USA into the dying seconds of the game but the officials missed a clear foot-trip which would surely have resulted in a penalty and yellow card. Instead Victoria Folayan was able to score the winner. Folayan was later cited and given a two game suspension but it was too little too late for the Fijians.
Spain managed two draws and a win in Pool B, with Barbara Pla and Patricia Garcia in excellent form but it was Russia who topped the pool with a fantastic 12-0 win over England cementing their place at the top. Rusiet Edidzhi was in superb form out wide while Ekaterina Kazakova also led from the front. England’s defence was aggressive throughout, with Rachael Burford going well, but they had to settle for third in the pool, scraping a place in the quarter-finals.
Australia dominated Pool C and finished on top comfortably. Despite a wobbly start against Brazil, where they trailed early, the Australians, led by the experienced Sharni Williams, powered to wins over all three sides in their pool. With Ellia Green and Rachel Crothers, Australia had plenty of pace out wide, while Shannon Parry. Canada started well with a fine win over France, but a draw with Brazil and a loss to Australia saw them finish second in the pool. Ghislaine Landry and Bianca Farella caught the eye for the Canadians. Brazil will be pleased with their progress, with Julia Sarda in great form, but it was a bitterly disappointing day for France who finished bottom.
New Zealand v Brazil
Spain v Canada
Australia v England
Russia v USA
Fiji v Tunisia
Ireland v France