Sharni Smale.
Sharni Smale helped Australia to victory in this game with USA before a quarter-final win over Fiji. Image by AP PHOTO
  • rugby 7

Aussie 7s women into Vancouver semis, men struggle

Murray Wenzel February 25, 2024

Australia’s men have been caught in French star Antoine Dupont’s path during a disappointing Vancouver world series leg, but Tim Walsh’s table-topping women have reached the final four.

World Rugby’s player of the year Dupont announced himself to the code’s short-form with a brilliant solo try in France’s 31-5 defeat of John Manenti’s men on Sunday (AEDT).

Dupont dashed from the scrum base and dummied his way through the line to score his first sevens try in his debut tournament as the 15-a-side halfback eyes an Olympic appearance on home soil in July.

That loss completed a disappointing 0-3 pool stage for the 2022 World Series winners. Australia then came from behind to beat Spain 19-14 to line up a tussle for 10th place with South Africa on Monday.

The women, who have two wins and a silver from three events so far, will play France for a spot in the final after edging out USA in extra time then cruising past Fiji 35-19 in the quarter-final.

Maddison Levi went the length of the field for a golden-point try in their 17-12 defeat of the Americans and scored early against Fiji as they led 21-0 after just six minutes.

Walsh’s side have defied constant poor discipline, particularly high tackles, to remain the team to beat this season.

But the coach wants to stamp it out ahead of the Games in July.

“There’s obviously an issue there we have to sort out; it’s just breaking a habit,” he said.

“So we’ll be continuing to work on that and make sure that we are getting the front foot in and dipping, and giving the referee the right picture, and making sure that every player’s looked after from a welfare point of view.

“It’s just something that we have to accept, take full accountability for it, and be better for it.”