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Hong Kong SVNS - Women, Day Two

LIVE UPDATES: We bring you all the women’s drama on Day Two at Hong Kong, Round Six of the SVNS World Series.

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New Zealand, Australia and France were all faultless on the opening day of the Cathay/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens as they pursue top seedings for the Grand Final.

Follow all the Day Two action below!

Cup quarterfinals

Fiji 7 – 33 USA

Both sides came out swinging for this QF matchup. They ran each other from one end of the field to the other with some expansive rugby. USA were the ones to make it over the line first after about 5 minutes of play, following an explosive run. Fiji responded in turn not a minute later as Naimasi made it over for the Fijians. Their lethal try-scorer, Buleki, limped off the field shortly after. USA secured one more try before the hooter to see them into the half with a bit more of a cushion. Play continued two minutes after the hooter as both sides kept it alive, to the detriment of Fiji as USA stole another try.

Fiji’s plans of a comeback in the second half were foiled by themselves, after an unforced error gifted USA the ball that allowed to swoop in for a try almost uncontested. To add insult to injury, the Fijians received a yellow card setting them back even further. USA continued to press their advantage and it paid off with them tying a neat bow around the fixture while silencing the Fijian supporters.

France 31 – 7 Ireland

France with a quick start and rally to pull ahead early via the hands of Ciofani. Ireland blink twice, slap themselves in the face, and run head first into the opposition, forcing a gap in the middle of the pitch where the previously was none. Crowe the lady who got the final ball to make it over the line. France remained unphased by the response carving a path for Okemba to make it through along the wing . The French secured another try before the hooter, giving Ciofani her brace.

Ireland failed to rally coming into the second half, while the French continued their onslaught and collected two more tries because of it. Ireland struggled to string together more than a couple of passes, looking a bit rattled after the first half showing. That, alongside the French defence ensured Ireland never really looked dangerous in the second half.

Canada 5 – 26 New Zealand

Canada were up against it from the early minutes, with New Zealand rushing forward to close down options and apply pressure. NZ came out ahead in the early scraps with a try, sneaking through along the wing. Canada managed to enjoy a bout of possession, but it was mostly inside their own half as they struggled to find a way forward. NZ punished the territorial advantage by securing another try. They rounded up the half with one more, giving them a trio of tries going into the break.

Canada came into the second half with a bit more spirit, doing well to quell NZ’s aggressive advances while structuring their line to show some expansive play of their own. They were not altogether successful, but had a better defensive showing in the second half than they did in the first. The Canadians also managed a try of their own, curtesy of Valenzuela. The efforts were¬† unfortunately not enough to see them to victory.

Australia 12 – 0 Japan

Both teams squared off looking good, showing an even match in the opening minutes, in contrast to the other three QF games. Japan held Australia while prodding at the flanks, looking for a kink in their armour but were unable to find any. Australia made the most of their possession and chances by making it over the try line to draw the all-important first blood late into the first half. They went into the break leading by 5 after missing the conversion.

The second half resulted in a similar stalemate, as the sides kept each other at bay, akin to a fencing match. The patient build ups and attacks benefited Australia as they had the lead. The clock pressure eventually forced Japan’s hand, giving Australia the chance to strike again and secure a second try, sealing the game with only a couple of minutes to play. A careful and calculated game, with Australia coming out ahead.

Ninth-place play-offs

Spain 5 – 12 Brazil

The first ninth-place playoff started slow as both sides were kept within spitting distance of the respective 22s. Whenever the opposition looked like they were building towards creating an overlap of bursting through the defence, they’d lose out and the cycle would restart in the possession of the other team. Brazil did, however, benefit from more attacking cycles than Spain, but with nothing to show for it after the first seven minutes. The Brazilians felt their tactics were working and they were within striking distance, opting to keep the ball alive after the hooter. It paid off after they got on the scoresheet two minutes after the hooter sounded to give them the lead they felt they deserved.

Brazil picked up where they left off, weaving together a neat team try for Costa who takes them into double digits. Spain revitalized their attack with a couple of sub that paid their dues minutes after coming on. Gil the lady who made it over for Spain after making an appearance off the bench. Brazil slowed the game down following the try and ran the clock down, ushering the match into a quiet victory for the South Americans.

Great Britain 15 – 14 South Africa

South Africa with a blistering start, scoring in the first minute, curtesy of Malinga, who crept though along the wing. The celebrations were short-lived as GB rushed over the line along the wing in similar fashion as Boatman showed the her speed with a terrific sprint. They doubled their lead with another try from Cowell who stole a ball in the midfield and enjoyed a dash towards the line, outmatching her South African rival. GB managed one more try after the hooter, which gave them a nice cushion going into the break.

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South Africa came into the second half with a gameplan and stuck to it. Pressuring the GB side on the flanks lead to the ladies in green securing another converted try by running it close to the sticks. GB held the aggressors in place with a 1-point lead, but the result was in no way secure. GB kept SA in their half by holding territory. A late scrum gave SA the chance to concoct their final attack with the added benefit of a red and yellow card awarded to the GB side. Boatman the beneficiary of the red. SA looked to capitalize on the numbers advantage but GB forced their hand and miraculously came away with a win.

Final pool matches

Japan 19 – 12 Spain

The first fixture of Women’s SVNS Day 2 started with Japan applying early pressure following the kickoff. Spain did well to slow the attack down and press the Japanese back to the half way line but a recalculated effort allowed the sunrise nation capitalize on the gaps left in the center of the pitch. Tsujisaki the lady to make it over for the Japanese and give them the lead. It seemed Spain needed to concede the try for them to formulate their attack the way they wanted. A worthy price to pay, after they split the Japanese defence down the middle and scored under the sticks to take the lead.

The Spanish women came out swinging in the second half, scoring within the first minute of play. Their second try was unconverted leaving room for Japan to make it level. After they defended on their 22, the Japanese managed to break through the center. Hirano rushed down the middle to make a good 25 or so meters to put it down for a try. Shortly after they secured another off the back of a scrum and too k the lead and the game. Hara the lady with the last say for Japan. Into the QF they go.

United States 5 – 12 Canada

Some heavy hits in the opening minutes between these two rival nations. America came off worse as Canada looked to grab the game by the scruff of the neck early on, which they did via Olivia Apps who cut through the middle of the USA defence with a dashing run to get the first try. USA held on as Canada applied pressure with continued attacks and incessant hits. A little more than just a first place finish for the Canadians, perhaps.

The second half saw USA hold onto the ball a bit more, which paid off when debutant Thomas sprinted down the flank to get her first try. The conversion kick was wide, keeping Canada ahead. Neither side was willing to role over and concede the higher seeding. End-to-end runs as the both American nations fought hard to come out ahead, with Canada eventually making it over via a dive from Daniels at the last to seal the deal.

Ireland 5 – 21 Fiji

Fiji started the game in the best way possible, by taking the ball from a kickoff and shooting down the pitch to bag a try against an apparently napping Irish side. Buleki the lady that scooted passed the ladies in green with a speedy run. The Irish regathered themselves and worked the pitch to reach good attacking positions but were held at bay around the 5 as Fiji refused to concede. After almost 6 minutes of defensive work, the Fijians looked to sneak one in before the half time whistle which would really have winded the Irish, but they were foiled at the last.

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The second half started similar to the first, with Buleki bagging another early try. Ireland were not able to exert as much territorial pressure as they did in the first, as both teams get the other honest by allowing progress only after the work had been put in. Ireland did manage to pull one back with the help of Crowe, but Fiji retaliated with Qoro, which sealed the game. A strong performance by the Fijian women overall.

Australia 28 – 0 South Africa

Australia showed a dominant performance in the first half, limiting the South African’s aggressive maneuvers while keeping them on the backfoot. SA were not without chances, but failed to make the most of their opportunities while Australia bagged two tries, Levi and Nathan scoring respectively. Not enough venom in the South African attack despite stretching Australia left and right. Australia went into the break undoubtedly feeling confident about their position.

The second half started similar to the first with an early try to Australia, before they bagged another one minutes after that. South Africa remained on the backfoot in the second half, never really looking like catching up or threatening the Australians. The ladies in gold saw the game to it’s end comfortably and cleared as the hooter sounded. A one-sided affair, overall.

Brazil 12 – 17 Great Britain

A slow start in the opening minutes as the ball sat around the 10s of each team as the sides felt each other out, with the occasional poke into the 22. After a patient build up to a reasonable chance, GB shifted out to the wing and manage to make it over the try line after capitalizing on the mismatch created from concentrating their passes in the center initially. With a minute to play, Brazil found their opportunity after a scrum at the half way, shifting it to the middle of the pitch where they made the most of a glaring gap in the GB defence.

Second half saw a more controlled GB side, hedging their bets by keeping it tight and in hand, only expanding when they felt the risk was minimal. After grinding away at the Brazilian defence, they found a way over the line with Shekells, who secured a quick brace to give GB a comfortable lead with only a couple of minutes to play. Brazil didn’t take the two tries lying down, and managed a rebuttal in t he final minute but could not muster more than that.

New Zealand 21 – 26 France

It only took a minute for New Zealand to break the French defence after a long kick forward put the defence is disarray. Blyde the lady to make it over the line running in from a wide angle to put it down close to the sticks. France regathered themselves and worked their way forward, fighting to make ground as they tumble around inside the 22, offering pop passes to any team mate in the vacinity. Okemba is the lady that stumbled over the line to get France their try. Both NZ and France would go on to bag one more try a piece in the first half.

The second half started exactly as the first did, with NZ securing an early try, catching the French off guard. Fooled them once, twice. The script continued to reiterate as France pulled it back, but manage a conversion with this try, putting them behind NZ by 2 points. A nerve-wracking final few minutes ensued as France turned up the heat and aggression, pushing the NZ side back further into their half until they got it down in the try area after the hooter, ending the unbeaten run. Great character by the French to take the game.

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