Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 11 August 2020

Dubai Sevens: Nothing odd about Australia's strong start in women’s world series

Sharni Williams's team defeat Fiji 38-0 on opening day of the competition

Australia might have arrived in Dubai on the back of an indifferent run of results, and with their best-known player injured on the eve of the tournament.

And yet a weird statistical quirk has buoyed their hopes of success at the Dubai Rugby Sevens.

Charlotte Caslick, the biggest star of Australian women’s rugby, suffered a hamstring injury in training last week, which ruled her out of the trip to the UAE.

That was the latest issue to beset a side that finished a relatively lowly fourth on the women’s world series last season, and who have been struggling with the availability of senior players of late.

However, if history is the sole guide, Australia should be nailed on to win the Dubai tournament.

Since the World Series tournament was first played here, New Zealand have won the title on all four of the even years – 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018. Australia have won it on each of the three odd years to date.

Sharni Williams, the Australia captain, said they are aware of the sequence of results in Dubai, and that it has raised their spirits after their recent troubles.

“It is not a given, and everyone has to work extremely hard for it, plus in sevens, anyone can win that game,” Williams said.

“It is about how you performed and prepared as well. Teams like USA, France, Spain, are all starting to put their best foot forward, and it is anyone’s game.

“But it does give us confidence to think, ‘Oh, you know what, it is an odd year this year – maybe we will get it’.”

Williams scored a try and kicked two conversions as the Aussies made a fine start to their bid to regain the title.

They won 38-0 against Fiji in the second match on Pitch One of the 2019 Sevens. Defending champions New Zealand opened with a 48-0 thrashing of Japan.

United States, who lead the series after winning their home tournament in California in October, beat Brazil 29-7, while France trounced England 29-0.

Updated: December 9, 2019 08:12 PM

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