Australian women well placed for Sevens gold after massive first day

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Portia Woodman of New Zealand was the star of the first day’s play in rugby sevens yesterday. 

By TAS MAVRIDIS

The women’s rugby sevens competition got underway on Friday, with all teams playing two of their three round robin matches.

In Pool A, New Zealand and Canada have booked their spots in the semi-finals with New Zealand winning 41-0 and 45-0 against South African and Kenya, respectively, while Canada recorded 29-0 and 24-12 wins against the same opposition.

The winner of this match will book top spot and is likely avoid Australia in the semi-final.

Victorious in the Rio Olympics two years ago and making their Commonwealth Games debut, Australia are the only undefeated team in Pool B after wins over Wales (34-5) and old rival England (29-12).

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Emma Sykes of Australia holds off Natasha Hunt of England during yesterday’s match. 

The hosts will look to seal top spot in the group when they come up against Fiji, while England and Wales will battle it out with one of England and Fiji likely to join Australia in the semi-finals.

As seen at the Olympics and for much of the world series competitions, Australia is likely to play off against New Zealand for gold, with the result very hard to split given the outstanding quality of both teams.

The star of the day was Portia Woodman of New Zealand, scoring a blistering five tries in the first two matches.

Sinbinned in the final in Rio, Woodman is on the road to redemption and has signalled a warning to the rest of the competition.