Argentina’s men and Australia’s women won their first sevens titles in Cape Town on Sunday and lead the world series.
The Argentines blew away Australia 45-12 in the men’s final, a week after reaching their first Dubai final. In this calendar year and including last season, Argentina has appeared in eight of 10 finals, more than any other team. Its progress since winning the Olympic bronze medal in Tokyo in 2021 signals it is shaping for a medal upgrade at the Paris Games at the end of this series.
The Australian women were the first Olympic champions in rugby sevens in 2016 but missed out in Tokyo. They’re in the kind of form that should earn a medal in Paris after going two for two in finals in this series and collecting back-to-back titles in Dubai and Cape Town. Australia had to overcome a red card to leading try-scorer Maddison Levi in the final to edge France 29-26.
France upset New Zealand, the defending two-time Cape Town champion, in the semifinals to reach its first final since January. Then it was overwhelmed, initially, by Australia, which forced ruck turnovers.
Tries by Levi — a pair — Faith Nathan and Sharni Smale gave Australia a 22-0 lead after six minutes. France rallied just before the break with a pair of Anne-Cecile Ciofani tries to close the gap to 22-14 and had the benefit of a one-player advantage in the second half.
Levi was red-carded for a shoulder hit to the head of Camille Grassineau. Australia also conceded a red card against France in the Dubai semifinals and prevailed.
France closed to 22-19 in Cape Town with a try by captain Carla Neisen from Caroline Drouin’s cross-field kick, but Kaitlin Shave secured victory for Australia by beating Ciofani and scoring between the posts with a minute left.
The French came within three again after Joanna Grisez’s converted try but the restart kick went too deep to contest and Australia celebrated.
“It was just a really gutsy effort. Obviously finishing the game with only six players – we played France last week and also had a red card, so to do that two weeks in a row … just super brave from the girls and I’m so proud of them,” Australia captain Charlotte Caslick said. “To go back-to-back as well – we haven’t done that for a really long time, so it’s set our season up really well.”
The men’s final became one-sided after Australia captain Nick Malouf was sin-binned. By halftime Argentina was up 28-0. German Schulz scored from an intercept, Santiago Mare scooped up a kind bounce, and Marcos Moneta went over followed by Matias Osadczuk.
Australia sent on Dietrich Roache, who set up one try and scored another to make it 28-12, but Argentina responded with three more tries; a second for Osadczuk from a step and fend, then Tomas Elizalde after he toed on a loose pass, and finally captain Santiago Alvarez from an overlap.
Source : Yahoo News