The Dubai Sevens 2018 are done and dusted. For New Zealand's Sevens sides it was the perfect weekend as both, the men's and women's, start the new season in a winning fashion. But there is much more we can take away from the last few days. Here are five things that stood out.
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Australia beat South Africa 29-0 in the Cup final to take the HSBC Sydney Sevens title.
The victory secured a clean sweep for the host nation after Australia’s women beat New Zealand in their Cup final earlier on in the day.
It marked the men’s first Cup win since Japan in 2012 and Andy Friend’s side put on a clinical display on day three in front of an enraptured home crowd at the Allianz Stadium.
A brace from Ben O’Donnell combined with scores from Lewis Holland, James Stannard and John Porch.
Lachlan Anderson, an emerging talent within the team, was voted HSBC Player of the Final and was naturally delighted with the result after the full-time whistle.
“It is still hard to take it in and it is pretty special, but we have been talking about this for a long time," he said. “We started the work last July and drew a line in the sand as we hadn’t won for a while. We put the pieces in place and it is great that we got the reward this weekend
South Africa now lead the overall HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2018 standings and Australia move up to third with seven stops remaining. The teams move swiftly on and will reconvene in Hamilton on 3-4 February.
Argentina was knocked out in the Cup semi-final by the eventual winners yet finished strongly in third after beating the USA 31-10 in the Bronze Final.
France won the Challenge Trophy Final. After a victory over Spain and Russia, they beat Wales 29-12 in their final.
Australia beat New Zealand 31-0 in the Cup final to take the HSBC Sydney Sevens title on home soil.
Tim Walsh’s side went through the tournament without conceding a try, a first in the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series, and produced a clinical display in the Trans-Tasman Cup Final.
A try from HSBC Player of the Final Charlotte Caslick combined with scores from Shannon Parry, Ellia Green, Evania Pelite and Emma Sykes to secure a memorable victory on home soil.
After the full-time whistle the World Rugby Women's Sevens Player of the Year 2016, Caslick, was naturally delighted with the winner's performance over the course of the three days.
“It was a fantastic way to finish the tournament here in Sydney in front of our home crowd especially as New Zealand are so tough to beat," she said. "Our coach Tim Walsh wanted a better defensive effort in this tournament as it was not up to par last year, so we have worked really hard on it and we finished without conceding a try which is awesome.”
In the Bronze Final Canada also delivered a clinical showing to take a 40-12 victory over Russia. France secured fifth position, Ireland finished in seventh and on day two England won the Challenge Trophy Final.
After back-to-back tournament wins in Dubai and Sydney Australia are now ten points clear of New Zealand, Canada and Russia in the overall HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2018 standings. There are three stops remaining and the teams will regroup next in Kitakyushu on 21-22 April.
Sydney Sevens | Men's | Results Day 3
Sydney Sevens | Women's | Results Day 3
Text, Picture and Video: World Rugby
France and South Africa had never previously met in a Cup final and Pierre Gilles Lakafia’s early try forced South Africa to come from behind but they stood up impressively, putting three converted tries on France before conceding again.
Hosts Australia have made the quarter-finals for the last 15 home events but needed to beat South Africa by five points to guarantee qualification for the knockout stages.
New Zealand had led 12-0 through Joe Ravouvou and Andrew Knewstubb but Spain hit back, Ignacio Rodriguez-Guerra doing down in the corner before captain Francisco Hernandez put his side ahead at the break. Joan Losada’s try was cancelled out by Ravouvou and Sam Dickson, but after the hooter, Losada broke down the left wing and found Pol Pla on the inside to seal a famous victory.
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