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Women's Rugby Sevens Olympic Qualification Gets Off To A Hot Start

Courtesy Mike Lee/KLC Fotos

Day One

The USA stop of the World Rugby Women's Sevens Series started fast and never stopped. Australia, New Zealand, and Canada won their pools on day one. Australia and New Zealand did so in dominating fashion. Australia had a +99 point differential, while New Zealand had a +89 point differential.

Pool A 
This was Australia's to lose and they almost did. After shutting out Spain & Mexico, it took a come from behind victory over Russia for Australia to claim first place in Pool A. Spain was very unfortunate to not have made the Cup Quarterfinals. Spain needed to beat Mexico by 47 points to advance and they missed out by one point with a 46-0 victory.

Pool B
This was the pool of death at this tournament. New Zealand claimed all three victories. The Red Roses of England had a last second victory over the USA Eagles to propel them into second place. The Eagles almost missed out on the Cup Quarterfinals thanks to a dismal performance. A last second loss to England, a scare from China, and a shellacking from the Black Ferns. The Eagles are fortunate Spain wasn't able to score more.

Pool C 
The most competitive pool at the tournament. Canada and France were favored to advance, but Ireland decided to have their own say in the matter. All three finished pool play with a positive point differential. Fiji had a disappointing performance, after hoping to get something going in the offseason. 

2018 USA Women's 7s Day 1

Day Two

New Zealand continued their domination of the Women's Sevens World Series. With their six victories in this tournament, the Black Ferns extended their winning streak to 24 straight sevens matches without a loss. The Black Ferns have also won 4 straight Sevens tournaments.

The Black Ferns championship road started with Ireland, who proved no match for them. Next came Canada, who put up a fight but ultimately fell. The Cup final was against the surprising USA Eagles. The Eagles got an early lead thanks to a Black Fern mistake, but New Zealand was quick to correct and scored 33 unanswered points to take the championship.

The USA Eagles were the surprise of the day. After a disappointing day one, the Eagles got the jump on Australia and didn't look back. Next up, they faced France and the Eagles day almost ended right there, but a last second try from Alena Olsen and conversion from Alev Kelter put the Eagles into the Cup final, where they fell to the Black Ferns.

This year's Sevens Series is being used to determine Olympic qualification for both the men and women. The top four teams at the end of the season will automatically qualify for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. The top four, in order, after the USA stop are New Zealand, USA, Canada, and France.

~Josh Fredlund (Photos by Josh Fredlund unless otherwise noted)