Australia’s women qualify for Olympic RU

Australia’s Women’s Sevens team have accumulated enough points to qualify directly for the Rio 2016 Olympics rugby tournament.

Pool B victories over Russia (29-7), China (48-0) and England (24-7) at the Amsterdam Sevens put Australia into the last eight and they cannot be overtaken by any team outside of the top four in the Women’s Sevens World Series standings.

New Zealand will finish top ahead of Australia with Canada third, leaving England, the United States and France to battle for the fourth direct Olympic spot.

Australia will play Russia again in the Amsterdam quarter-finals on Saturday when the USA will play Spain, Canada face off against France and England meet New Zealand.

“We had an emotional chat in the dressing sheds when we heard the news and it’s certainly a monkey off our back,” coach Tim Walsh said.

“Qualifying for the Olympics is something we have been talking about for the last two or three years so I am immensely proud and overwhelmed.”

On the quarter-final draw Walsh said: “I say it every tournament but the Cup quarter-final first up is the most important of the weekend.

“We’ll face a team in Russia desperate to win World Series points for their own Olympic aspirations so it’s crucial that we are fully prepared.”

New Zealand’s women simply had to step onto the pitch at the NRCA Stadium in Amsterdam to confirm their third successive World Sevens title win and they went on to beat Fiji 32-0 and South Africa 31-7.

But the shock of the day came when the USA handed the Kiwis their biggest defeat in the series, 34-5 to top Pool A.

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