Australia beats New Zealand in Rugby Sevens at Commonwealth Games, reaction, thriller

Victories do not come as sweet for an Aussie rugby team than defeating New Zealand and the women’s sevens side have pulled off a memorable 17-12 victory to move into the Commonwealth Games gold medal match.

Although the Aussies are currently leading the World Series, New Zealand are big event specialists, coming into the event as the reigning Commonwealth and Olympic champions.

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The Kiwis led 12-5 at halftime but Maddison Levi scored a second half double, completing a hat-trick, as the Aussies came over the top.

But Levi’s third try came with just over a minute remaining, giving New Zealand one last chance.

And it looked to be playing into New Zealand’s hands when Portia Woodman made a half break down the right side, while Levi grabbed at whatever she could get her hands on, catching Woodman’s hair.

It saw Levi sin binned and Australia defending with six for the final seconds of the match.

But a knock on was all Australia needed as pandemonium erupted and the Aussies swamped the field.

Four years ago on the Gold Coast, New Zealand edged the Aussies for gold, and now Australia have their revenge.

Levi, who along with her sister Teagan will now face Fiji in the gold medal match after giving away AFLW careers with the Gold Coast Suns last year said it was a career highlight.

“That is right up there, top tier,” Levi said.

“Pretty surreal; we’ve played a couple of games now and not been able to link up so to finally play with her (and combine to score) the most important try, really helped.

“And in the last few minutes, that defence, just knowing I could read her (helped too).

“It was a pretty emotional win … as much as I love AFL it was pretty much a no-brainer to come and showcase what I could do on the world stage.”

Levi has scored nine tries in the four matches in the tournament so far.

“We’ve won a few together before but that was really, really emotional and it was (because of) the way we won it,” coach Tim Walsh said.

“I’d imagine (the Levi sisters’) mum and dad are at home bawling; it’s a pretty proud moment. So you celebrate that win, but we’ve got tomorrow to deal with.”

On the other side, New Zealand were gutted — and will now play Canada for bronze.

“I’m absolutely gutted to be honest and pretty emotional,” New Zealand captain Sarah Hirini said.

“I know how hard those girls will take that. Just the amount of work they put in to get to that point and for it to be so close.

”But we’ve also been on the winning end of a few games like that. I guess that’s the good and s**t thing about sevens.”

The Aussie men will play South Africa in the semi-finals of their tournament, after a 7-0 win over Samoa in the quarterfinals.

The winner will play either New Zealand or Fiji for gold, the loser will play the other for bronze.

Originally published as ‘Absolutely gutted’: Australia tears heart out of New Zealand in Rugby Sevens

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