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NZ women lose Atlanta sevens final

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 10/04/2016

Coach Sean Horan has praised the resilience of his young New Zealand women's side after they were beaten 24-19 by Australia in the Atlanta Sevens final.

With only nine players available, New Zealand fell 19-0 behind as Australia scored tries to Charlotte Caslick, Alicia Quirk and Emilee Cheery.

They hit back through Selica Winiata on the stroke of half-time, but Australia made it 24-7 with Caslick's second touchdown.

New Zealand didn't give up and prolific tryscorer Portia Woodman broke through two tacklers to touch down, before Winiata completed her brace.

Australia have taken out all three rounds so far in this season's five-tournament circuit, with the next stop being in Canada next weekend.

New Zealand, who finished champions in each of the three previous world series, have moved to outright second on the table, but the gap to their trans-Tasman rivals has opened out to 14 points.

Horan said he was impressed by how his players had performance over the past two days.

"There was seven girls playing in their first final today," he said.

"There were three new caps playing their first international tournament. They played a lot of game time, so the experience from this weekend will be invaluable."

Despite Australia's dominance this season, Horan said they weren't unbeatable, citing England's pool win over them.

"We learnt a lot tonight for a young team," he said.

"I'm stoked with the heart they showed. We handed them [Australia] 19 points on a plate but were still about a minute away from winning."

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