Australia have started their HSBC World Rugby Women's Sevens Series 2018 campaign with an emphatic 34-0 victory over USA in the final of the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens. The 2016-17 series runners-up and Olympic gold medallists produced a dominant display of flowing rugby to dazzle the packed out stands at the series opener and achieve their first tournament win since Atlanta in 2016 and their first Dubai win since 2015.
USA looked in fine fettle after their shock Cup quarter-final win over series champions New Zealand but it was a one-sided affair in the final as Australia ran in six tries to ensure they will head into their home event in Sydney top of the standings.
Emma Tonegato, who was later named HSBC Player of the Final, opened the scoring in the final following a beautiful piece of interlinking play with Charlotte Caslick and Emilee Cherry. Co-captain Sharni Williams followed up with a clever blindside break down the left to score Australia's second, which was soon added to by Player of the Tournament Evania Pelite.
In the second half, Cherry ran in an easy try after the ball spilled out on the 22-metre line, and then set up Dominque du Toit for their fifth try. Du Toit rounded off the game with an easy clean break through the middle of the USA defence following a lineout.
"We're absolutely ecstatic with that win. It's been a long time coming since that last gold medal,” Williams said. "The girls have worked extremely hard in the pre-season and it's great to get the rewards for that."
Australia will head into the next round of the series in Sydney on 26-28 January, buoyed by their result in Dubai but also one step closer to a strong seeding at Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 in San Francisco. The seedings will be based on the 2016-17 series points combined with the first two rounds of the 2018 series.
Russia finished third following a 10-5 defeat of Canada in the bronze medal match, while two tries from Amee-Leigh Murphy-Crowe helped Ireland overcome South Africa 24-7 to win the Challenge Trophy.