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NZ women topple Australia at Dubai sevens

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 2/12/2016

A rebuilding New Zealand have beaten arch-rivals Australia 17-5 to win the opening leg of the women's sevens world series in Dubai.

Nearly four months after Australia won a trans-Tasman Olympic gold medal decider in Rio, New Zealand responded with an unbeaten run through Dubai capped by deserved victory in the final.

An early 80m runaway try to star back Portia Woodman, who joined the team this week after Test duties for the Black Ferns, was followed by a double to Rebekah Cordero-Tufuga.

Australia's only try came through Emilee Cherry to leave her team trailing 10-5 at halftime.

Kelly Brazier, who created both tries for Cordero-Tufuga, was named player of the final and joined her team-mates in celebrating a win which carried plenty of meaning.

Captain Sarah Goss was thrilled her team had lodged a first win over Australia since April 2015.

"We've got a new team, new management and to beat Australia is great," Goss said.

"To come back after the Olympics, it was tough, but to beat Australia in probably my favourite tournament, is so exhilarating for me."

Coach Allan Bunting, who took over from Sean Horan after Rio, warned the Olympic champions will bounce back when they host the second round of the series in Sydney in February.

He was delighted they achieved victory without the services of Shakira Baker and Niall Williams, who were both injured on the first day.

Russia beat England 19-14 in the play-off for bronze.

New Zealand were untroubled in beating Russia 24-5 in the semi-finals, with Michaela Blyde bagging a double, while Australia thrashed England 31-10.

Sppedster Blyde finished the tournament with 10 tries, having bagged a hat-trick against South Africa in the 39-0 quarter-final win. Woodman also crossed three times in that game.

The scorelines in Dubai suggest the world series is set to become another trans-Tasman duel in 2016-17.

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