Black Ferns eye up Sydney sevens trophy

For the first time, Australia's women's rugby sevens team will wake up just one win away from a World Series title. Fiji carried the ball 95 meters through a series of passes and collisions before Veremalua scored in the arms of two Kiwi tacklers to snatch the most dramatic win of the tournament so far.

Both Friend and Holland were happy with the grit the side showed, something that will be crucial as they prepare for a New Zealand side smarting from a heartbreaking loss to Fiji on Saturday afternoon.

They join Argentina, Fiji and Australia as the unbeaten sides heading into the last eight after a second day of top quality rugby in the Australian sunshine. Perry Baker scored four tries in seven minutes, and set up one more, to secure the victory and their place in the Cup quarter-finals.

The men's tournament also began Friday with the first round of matches in pool play.

But the new, three-day Sydney 7s format featuring a stand-alone Sunday final hasn't played on the team's nerves, according to Olympic champion Alicia Quirk.

New Zealand advanced to the decider with an equally impressive 26-0 win over Canada in today's second semi-final.

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The Canadians finished first in Pool C after going 3-0 during the opening day of competition at the 12-nation tournament.

Rosko Specman scored five tries in the pool stages and declared, "It's a good start for us as in Cape Town we started too slowly and did not make the final". Russian Federation had previously beaten Ireland 19-7 and Fiji 19-12 to make their clash with Canada the pool decider. Australia's tough defense forced an early turnover and Emilee Cherry crossed in the left corner for Australia's first try.

Ahead 12-0 at half-time, the Kiwis extended their lead via Kurt Baker shortly after the restart.

Coach Tim Walsh pointed to that campaign, where Australia entered as world champions and clear favourites, as evidence they could handle the pressure in front of what is tipped to be a lively home crowd at Alliance Stadium.

Co-captain Sharni Williams' try then continued the rout in the second half, but it was Emma Tonegato that had tongues wagging post-game.

  • Tabitha Byrd