Defending champions New Zealand, HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series leaders USA, Australia, Canada, France and Spain were all victorious on day one of the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens 2019 at 7he Sevens Stadium.
The Black Ferns Sevens secured the biggest win of the day, beating invitational team Japan 48-0 with braces from Stacey Waaka and Huia Harding, as they bid to become the first team to successfully defend the title in HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series history.
Australia, USA and France were equally comfortable winners, but Canada had to dig deep to withstand a fight-back by Russia to triumph 24-19 and Spain only took the lead with time up on the clock against Ireland thanks to Patricia Garcia’s conversion in a 12-10 win.
Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, the top try scorer on the 2019 series, scored the first try of the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens 2019 after a line-break by Kathy Baker created space in the Spanish defence. The flyer then chased down Iera Echebarria to deny Spain a quick reply, before a dummy from Baker saw her double Ireland’s lead to 10-0.
However, with seconds to go to half-time Spain put Patricia Garcia into space to score in their 200th match in series history. Garcia then showed nerves of steel with time up on the clock to convert Maria Garcia’s try and snatch a 12-10 victory for Las Leonas.
Australia had never lost to Fiji in 21 previous meetings and they showed their determination to maintain that record when Ellia Green burst through a tackle in her own half and raced away to score before Emma Tonegato crossed for her 10th and 11th tries of the series from closer range for a 17-0 half-time lead. Green limped off before Tonegato’s second, but Australia kept the scoreboard ticking over as captain Sharni Williams dummied to go over before Georgia Hannaway and Faith Nathan marked their series debuts with tries in the 38-0 victory to top Pool B after day one.