Javelet followed her NZ try with the lone score vs. Australia today. /// Photo: World Rugby / Mike Lee
Hopes for an Atlanta 7s title have ended for the USA Women’s 7s team, as the host fell 22-5 to Australia in the Cup quarterfinals. The Eagles move onto the Plate semifinals against Fiji at 4:20 p.m. EDT.
Australia was more dynamic. Although the HSBC Women’s Sevens Series leader got into some trouble around the breakdown, necessitating a yellow card for Shannon Parry, the Wallaroos attacked with great confidence and speed, on both sides of the ball. They took advantage of the opportunities gifted them, while subduing the American offense, with one exception.
The opening kickoff did not go 10 meters, so Amy Turner restarted from midfield. Meya Bizer took a knock while making the hit, and while the medical staff attended to her, Australia continued to attack. Megan Bonny tracked down a breakaway, but then an offsides penalty allowed Australia to restart the line in the opposite direction. Essentially down a player, the USA couldn’t fully cover the quick moving ball to Emma Tonegato on the wing and she scored in the corner, 5-0.
Tonegato followed with Australia’s second try, which started with a midfield penalty. Charlotte Caslick took a hard step off the tap, forcing Jill Potter to abandon the sideline and mark the ballcarrier. With room to build speed, Tonegato got to within 10 meters of the tryline before Bui Baravilala got across. But one freezing step later and Tonegato was in for the corner score, which Chloe Dalton converted, 12-0.
Australia sent the restart into the USA’s try zone, and Nicole Heavirland returned it to approximately the 10 meter. The defense swarmed the scrumhalf quickly, pressuring a turnover, and if it weren’t for a penalty, it would have happened (the ball was trickling forward into Australia’s hands). Australia enforced itself as the USA attempted to get out of its 22 meter, and looked to set up a scoring opportunity after holding up Lauren Doyle and getting the scrum. But another penalty provided some breathing room that Doyle increased with a breakaway. Caslick made a great cover tackle to halt a pull-away try, but the USA continued to move toward Australia’s tryline.
With no time remaining in the half and numerous attempts at the line, Australia was yellow-carded for repeated infringements. But the defense wasn’t intimidated and repelled an uninspired campaign at the line. The opportunity ended with a handling error.
The second half did not begin well for the home team. Australia sent the kickoff into touch at the USA’s 22 meter. The wind took Heavirland’s lineout throw-in, which went right into the defense’s hands. Center Emilee Cherry did not hesitate in her attack, taking a hard enough angle to split Doyle and wing Kristen Thomas for the try, 17-0.
The USA just couldn’t get its offense moving. Australia was fast enough to track down Doyle, Thomas and Javelet, and those breakaways weren’t always well supported well. Domonique Du Toit did an excellent job halting Thomas and Javelet on a pair of sideline breaks, causing one turnover and preventing the scores against.
The Eagles also hurt itself on some unforced errors. From a midfield lineout, Ryan Carlyle attempted to hit Alev Kelter off the top but the ball went into touch instead. That change in possession eventually set up Australia’s fourth try. The ball moved wide to Du Toit, who pushed passed a covering Javelet for the corner try, 22-0.
Javelet did have her revenge on the subsequent restart. Jill Potter came down with the ball, and substitute center Richelle Stephens sent a nice leading pass to the wing into space. But with the game firmly in hand, Australia gave a half-hearted chase and Javelet prevented the shutout with her second try of the tournament, 22-5.
The USA now competes for the Plate and must get past Fiji in the semifinals. Russia and France play in the other Plate semifinal.
Tries: Tonegato 2, Cherry, Du Toit
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