CLERMONT-FERRAND, France, May 29 AAP – Australia’s first World Sevens Rugby champions dropped just their second tournament of the season at the year-ending leg of the women’s series in Clermont-Ferrand on Sunday.
Having already clinched the title by beating Spain 35-0 in the quarter-final, the Pearls were eventually beaten 29-19 by Canada in the competition’s final.
The final result mattered little though, as the world title – along with a 14-5 defeat of former world champions New Zealand in the semi-final – come less than three months before the competition’s inaugural appearance at the Rio Olympics.
“To come out on top in the World Series is an extraordinary effort and we have so much to be proud of this season,” coach Tim Walsh said.
“Defence wins championships and up to that last game we had been fantastic all year.”
That defence went out the window in the final of the French leg though, as Canada piled on 26 points in a first-half demolition that saw Australia go to the break trailing by 19.
A second-half revival saw that gap narrowed to seven at one stage, however a late penalty to the Canadians ensured they ran out 10-point winners.
“It’s a bit bittersweet I guess, as we just didn’t perform in that Cup Final and Canada ran out worthy winners,” Walsh said.
“If you don’t make tackles you don’t win games and it certainly wasn’t our greatest defensive effort.
“It wasn’t a case of us not being up for it – every time we pull on the jersey we are up for it – but it wasn’t our game this time around.”
Australia won the first four events of the six-legged series, before finishing third in Canada last month and runners-up on the weekend.
They finish 14 points ahead of New Zealand, while Canada and England were each six points further back on 74.