New Zealand women power to Dubai title
A dominant New Zealand team, displaying a combination of raw power, pace and unparalleled fitness levels, have swept to victory at the first round of the inaugural IRB Women’s Sevens World Series in Dubai on Saturday night.
Facing perhaps the surprise package of the tournament in the form of an improving South Africa team in the final, the Kiwis showed why they may become just as much a force in women’s Sevens as their male counterparts, sweeping to a 41-0 win.
So after the first of four rounds on the series, New Zealand set the pace followed by South Africa, Spain and Australia with Russia, Canada and England next.
The Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens, featuring both the men's HSBC Sevens World Series tournament won by Samoa and the historic first women's Series event, attracted a record television audience. No fewer than 22 broadcasters around the world have been showing the live pictures to around 230 million homes across 140 countries.
And in front of those cameras, the quality of Rugby on show during this first-ever IRB Women’s Sevens World Series tournament represented a huge leap forward for the women’s Game.
Earlier in the day, South Africa's women narrowly beat the promising Netherlands side in the quarter-finals and then came from behind to beat the much-fancied Spanish in the penultimate stage. In the other semi-final, Australia and New Zealand did battle with the Kiwis proving too tough for their trans-Tasman rivals, as they did in the Oceania championship earlier this year. A hat-trick of tries from Kayla McAlister, sister of All Black Luke, and one from Portia Woodman were enough to see the New Zealanders into the final as they won out 28-14 against a tenacious Australia team.
IRB Women’s Sevens World Series
Round 2 – USA: Houston, Texas, 1-2 February, 2013 - BBVA Compass Stadium
Round 3 – China: Guangzhou, 30-31 March 2013 - Guangzhou University Town Stadium
Round 4 – Netherlands: Amsterdam, 17-18 May 2013 - NRCA Stadium