Thursday 22 March 2018 / 07:25 AM


Australian women’s teams in both rugby codes confirmed their world-leading credentials on the weekend after the Australian Women’s Rugby Sevens side and the Australian Jillaroos finished victorious in their respective tournaments.

The Aussie Sevens ladies had little trouble taking out the Dubai 7s World Series final, winning the final 34-0 against the USA.

Their rugby league counterparts faced a tougher task against a gritty and determined New Zealand outfit that pushed the Jillaroos to the end in the Rugby League World Cup decider. The Australians were crowned world champions for the second consecutive time after winning 23-16 over the Kiwi Ferns.

Women’s Sevens Side Back On Song

An impressive performance in Dubai on the weekend proved the Australian Women’s Sevens team are on target to take back the world champion title they held in 2016.

After securing the gold medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, the Australian women finished second behind New Zealand at the end of the 2016-17 competition.

Coach Tim Walsh confirmed the importance of a good 2017-18 pre-season preparation as the foundation for the tournament win.

“Everyone binded together and put into practice what we have been working on over the last two months,” Walsh told the ARU website.

“We had a really good lead in to the tournament with Aon (Uni 7s), Central Coast and in Bendigo against New Zealand.

“It’s so important to get that start to the season because it instills the players and coaches with belief – that winning feeling and that belief just grows.”

Australia showed great composure during the Dubai tournament to beat Japan (27-0), Russia (31-12), England twice (22-7 and 29-12 QF), Canada (25-7 SF) and then cruise to a 34-0 victory in the final over the USA.

Olympic Gold medallists Charlotte Caslick, Emma Tonegato – who was named player of the final – and player of the tournament Evania Pelite led the way for the Aussies, demonstrating their experience and skill when needed.

Australia showed off a couple of emerging stars during the tournament with back Dom Du Toit displaying some classy touches throughout, while 18-year-old Page McGregor made the most of her World Series debut, scoring a try against Japan.

The Australians will go into the next World Series tournament in Sydney starting on January 28 with plenty of confidence after their dominant display in the UAE.

Jillaroos Win Consecutive World Cup Titles

In a tough contest the Australian ladies outlasted the Kiwi Ferns at Suncorp Stadium in the World Cup decider, with the visitors ultimately paying the price for conceding penalties and making errors at crucial stages of the match.

It was the strong defensive work of Kezie Apps and the rest of the Jillaroos forwards, coupled with the attacking prowess of halves Caitlin Moran and Player of the Match Ali Brigginshaw that secured the 23-16 victory for the Jillaroos.

After relatively easy wins in the lead up to the final (58-4 against Cook Islands, 38-0 against England, 88-0 and 58-6 (SF) against Canada), the Kiwi Ferns pushed the Jillaroos in an at-times brutal final to ensure they had to earn their second consecutive world title the hard way.

The Ferns dominated the first half, but still found themselves 12-10 down at the break thanks to a stirring defensive effort from the Jillaroos, who posted the first two tries of the second stanza to take a commanding 10-point lead.

New Zealand winger Honey Hireme (nicknamed Honey Bill), finished the tournament as the leading try scorer with thirteen touchdowns after grabbing a double in the final.

Australian co-captains Renae Kunst and Steph Hancock confirmed their retirements from the Jillaroos following the victory.

Australian women’s rugby league players will enter an exciting new era for the sport in 2018 after the NRL announced a $3.75 million boost to elite women’s rugby league followed by reports of a national women’s competition to commence next year.

The Jillaroos and the Aussie women’s sevens squad have recruited players from the ‘rival code’ to bolster their teams over the last few years, effectively creating a dual pathway for aspiring players.

In another demonstration of the strength of Australian women’s sport both sides are currently sitting on top of the world.

[YouTube – Mad Squirrels RUGBY LEAGUE]

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About the author

Stuart McLennan

Stuart McLennan is a freelance writer and media manager with a passion for all sports and an obsession with the rugby codes. Currently based in Athens, Greece Stuart is enjoying watching rugby league develop internationally while keeping a close eye on the NRL. Stuart likes to scratch below the surface of the game and its personalities with interviews and opinion.

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