Australia will be crowned HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series champions on Sunday after reaching the final of the HSBC Women’s Paris Sevens with a last-gasp try to beat hosts France.
The result means New Zealand, who will face Australia in Sunday’s final after defeating Canada 34-7, can no longer catch Australia in the race for the series title.
In a superb showcase of women’s rugby sevens a scintillating semi-final had the Stade Jean Bouin reverberating as France recovered from 14-0 down at half time to score three unanswered second half tries and take a 17-14 lead in to the dying seconds only for a counter-attack from Australia to end in a try from Emilee Cherry to break French hearts.
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Australia’s consistency has ultimately secured them the series crown as they have reached the medal podium at each of the five rounds on the women’s series calendar for 2018.
New Zealand ran in six tries in a dominant semi-final performance to see off Canada and earn the right to take on rivals Australia in the final, which is a repeat of April’s Commonwealth Games final that saw New Zealand run out winners by a 17-12 scoreline.
The quarter-finals earlier in the day saw New Zealand overcome Spain 38-0, while Australia had to come from behind to scrape past a battling Fiji 22-19 with another late try clinching the victory.
Canada reached the semi-finals courtesy of a 26-24 win over USA, while hosts France entertained the loud and boisterous crowd with an outstanding 48-7 rout of England.
France will seek consolation in the bronze medal match against Canada on Sunday at 17:05 local time (GMT+2), followed by the final at 17:30 (GMT+2).
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Japan bowed out of the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series with a 17-12 victory against Wales in the 11th place play-off. Japan’s relegation as a core team on the series was confirmed earlier and they will be replaced in the 2019 series by China, who won the series qualification event in Hong Kong in April.
In the final match of the day Ireland beat Russia 10-5 to lift the HSBC Women’s Paris Sevens Challenge Trophy awarded to the team finishing ninth.