Fi­nal fight­back not quite enough

The Western Star - - SPORT - Iain Payten

A THRILLING Aussie come­back that sent the fi­nal into over­time wasn’t enough for the Aus­tralian women’s sev­ens team to tri­umph af­ter Kiwi speed­ster Kelly Bra­zier raced 80 me­tres to lit­er­ally score a golden-point try at Robina Sta­dium.

The Aussies trailed 12-0 at half-time af­ter a fraz­zled open­ing pe­riod but tries to Emilee Cherry and El­lia Green (pic­tured) saw the scores locked up as the fi­nal hooter sounded.

Rookie Cassie Sta­ples had a Greg Inglis-style brain-fade and kicked the ball out as Aus­tralia at­tacked af­ter the siren, pre­sum­ably think­ing the Aussies had kicked the con­ver­sion to Green’s try and were lead­ing.

They weren’t and the game went into ex­tra time, with the first try lit­er­ally be­com­ing a golden point.

In a hugely tense, back-and­forth five min­utes, the Aussies looked to have sealed it when Vani Pelite raced away.

But with every­one hugely fa­tigued, Pelite didn’t have the legs and she was dragged down in one of sev­eral crit­i­cal try-sav­ing tack­les by the Ki­wis.

The New Zealan­ders turned the ball over with a penalty and two steps was all it took for Bra­zier to find half-a-gap and sprint away.

It was one of those epic games where both teams de­served to win a gold medal, and luck­ily sil­ver is no small prize it­self.

This was the first ever Com­mon­wealth Games fea­tur­ing women’s sev­ens and no-one will be able to say it wasn’t a hard­earned – and hugely en­ter­tain­ing – gold medal vic­tory by New Zealand.

Ear­lier the Aus­tralian men beat Scot­land to se­cure fifth.

New Zealand’s men em­u­lated their fe­male coun­ter­parts by win­ning gold in the sev­ens, shut­ting out Rio gold medal­lists Fiji 14-0.

Photo: DAVE HUNT

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