New Zealand thrash Canada in Atlanta
February 17, 2014
New Zealand celebrate winning the final © Getty Images
New Zealand have climbed to the top of the women's Sevens World Series table after thrashing Canada 36-0 in the final of the United States round in Atlanta.
The result saw them move two points above Australia, the winners of round one in Dubai, who ended the series with a strong 22-12 win against Russia to take third place.
The New Zealanders produced a dominant performance to overwhelm Canada in the final. Selica Winiata scored in the corner in the third minute at Kennesaw State University and they kicked on to score six tries.
Winiata completed a double early in the second half, while Kayla McAlister and Portia Woodman, the latter in her first tournament since New Zealand's World Cup triumph in Moscow last June, also got on the scoresheet. New Zealand's win was sealed by Taranaki teenagers Gayle Broughton and Michaela Blyde. The pair combined to put 18-year-old Blyde over before Broughton, 17, touched down herself. Broughton's try, her fifth of the tournament, saw her become the team's equal top try-scorer along with McAlister and Woodman.
With 16 crucial series points on offer, Australia took on Russia in their final game of the tournament. Hanna Sio and Alicia Quirk got the Aussies off to a flying start, before a double from Baizat Khamidova - the top points and top try scorer in Atlanta - pegged them back. Australia dominated in the second half, however, and their pressure finally told when Ellia Green touched down twice in the left corner to score her third and fourth tries of the weekend and seal the win.
"It was a great way to finish," Australia's Emilee Cherry said. "After the highs and lows of the quarter-final and then the Canada game, the girls were really keen to finish off with a third-place finish. To defeat a powerful Russian side is very satisfying," .
"The way the girls performed was pretty outstanding," New Zealand coach Sean Horan said. "We're building, we're getting better and we still believe in ourselves. In fact we probably focus more on ourselves than others. It's about getting the body and the mind right. You want to peak on the second day of the tournament and that's what we did. I'm happy with our performance."
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