In one of the most thrilling finishes to a final, Australia claimed round five of the 2014-15 World Rugby Women's Sevens Series in London, beating Canada with a last-minute try in Twickenham.
Despite Canada leading 17-5 with just four minutes left, Sharni Williams' team battled back to score three times and snatch the win from the Canadians who, despite being in the top four in the standings, have never won a World Rugby Women's Sevens Series event.
Speaking after the final whistle, captain Williams said: "We definitely had to play our best footy out there. I think everyone really dug deep and the fresh legs that came on really impacted.
"We re-grouped after the last leg (in Langford) because we really hate losing but we learned from it. I'm just delighted for the girls today."
Canada coach John Tait was both frustrated and disappointed after going down to the Australians in London.
"I know the girls worked really hard and it was there for them. I'm disappointed we didn't get the win because I think we went into our shells and tried to guard the lead instead of staying on our (attacking) patterns. Australia are a quality side and if you give them too much ball they will score against you."
His opposite number, Tim Walsh, admitted that he felt for the Canadians after their crushing defeat: "We've been on the other end of this against New Zealand in Dubai and I know how they feel.
"Our girls did really well to get the win and they got what they deserved."
Elsewhere, New Zealand, who yesterday lost their first match after going unbeaten for 37 matches, defeated USA 24-19 in the third place play-off, with Portia Woodman touching down for her 50th try of the season. Earlier, back at The Stoop, the Plate final saw England beat France 19-0, with Fiji claiming the Bowl final after a 31-0 win over China.
The weekend's results mean New Zealand are within touching distance of a third series title ahead of the final round in Amsterdam next Friday, Australia move back to second place albeit only on points difference with Canada also on 76 points. The USA have now moved into fourth position and the final Olympic qualification spot at the expense of France, however the French also have 62 points with England just behind on 60 and Russia back on 54. What happens in the next round in Amsterdam will decide who goes forward to Rio.
Canada and USA have probably lost count of the number of the times they’ve played each other over the years, but the intensity of this encounter never dips. While Canada progressed to the Cup final in Twickenham, USA will take solace from the display from Victoria Folayan who scored two tries and dragged her team through this encounter, pressuring the Canadians at every turn. Tries from Brittany Benn, Magali Harvey and Ashley Steacy saw the Canadians get revenge for their defeat on home soil in the last round, 17-14.
A series of quick tries from Chloe Dalton, Alicia Quirke and Charlotte Caslick meant Australia lead their rivals New Zealand 19-0 at half-time in the second semi-final in London, and despite a decent effort from Woodman, the girls in gold were always in the driving seat after that.
Another tough battle, as fans would expect from these two sides, saw Sharni Williams' team come out on top 24-5, the icing on the cake coming with a superb last minute effort from Ellia Green. The result saw New Zealand sit out a final for the first time this series, and Australia back in a Cup decider for the first time since São Paulo in February.
Canada and Russia opened the day’s proceedings in The Stoop on Saturday, with the two teams meeting for the second time this weekend. The Russians took the game to the Canadians in the first half, with a score from Bianca Farella cancelled out by Bogacheva.
However Canada stretched out in the second half as wear and tear from a tough day one began to take a toll on the Russians, and John Tait’s team put another three tries on the board to see the game finish 26-5.
The USA v France quarter-final was always going to be close and, unsurprisingly, it was a last minute try that decided the semi-finalists. USA started brightly with an excellent try from speedster Folayan followed by a touchdown from Baravilala.
But France scored on the stroke of half time after a mistake from the Americans, and Les Bleues fought their way back into the match in the second period. However, with the game headed for extra-time at 12-12, a try by Kristen Thomas at the death saw the USA progress to a semi-final against Canada.
If an early morning quarter-final against New Zealand wasn’t daunting enough for England, they were taking on a team still smarting after their defeat to Spain on Friday, ending their 37 game winning streak. True, the Kiwis had also secured Olympic qualification, but they were on a mission and it showed from the start.
The girls in black got a quick try from Kelly Brazier and despite tries from Jo Watmore and Katy Mclean, England were always on the back foot and another try from Brazier, along with a brace from winger Woodman, saw New Zealand progress, 24-12.
The last quarter-final witnessed a very confident Spanish side take the field after their shock victory over defending series champions on Friday. But, despite some impressive defence in the first half, Williams led her Australian team to a 19-0 victory with tries from Caslick, Amy Turner and the returning Emilee Cherry making the difference.
The final countdown
The action now moves to the Netherlands next Friday where the series will finish up in Amsterdam where the 2014-15 champions will be crowned and the remaining three Olympic qualifiers known.
Like all other rounds in the series, all matches will be streamed on worldrugby.org and fans can find out more about where they can watch the action here.