New Zealand women win China Sevens final
New Zealand have defeated Australia 26-12 in the China Sevens final tonight, taking the lead in the Women's Sevens World Series.
Vice-captain Sarah Goss opened the scoring for New Zealand five minutes into the first half, after the Kiwis spread the Australian defence wide across the park.
Having spread the play wide to the right, New Zealand then brought the ball wide to the left where Goss found plenty of space, and then rounded the Australian's to score under the posts. Tyla Nathan-Wong added the regulation conversion.
New Zealand had the pressure on again from the restart, winning the ball back and challenging the Australians with their creativity and quick passing.
That led captain Huriana Manuel to extend the Kiwis lead with two minutes left to play in the half, after the ball was worked wide left.
New Zealand were impressive with the ball in hand, passing accurately and quickly despite the constant rain.
Australia struck just before the break, when Emilee Cherry broke free to score in the corner.
Leading 12-5 at halftime, New Zealand were quick to add to the lead when Carla Hohepa got on the back of a long ball on the right wing, darting over unchallenged.
Nathan-Wong hit the conversion from the sideline, giving New Zealand a 14-point buffer.
Australia were fighting hard to come back into the match, and slowly moved their way up field.
Sharni Williams bundled over the line crashing into the upright in the process to bring Australia back into the game, with Cherry converting, but it was only a brief comeback.
From the restart New Zealand had the ball in their own half, when Portia Woodman broke free of the Australian defence and trotted home for another try under the posts.
It capped Woodman's incredible tournament, being her 12th try in six games, and her sixth try of finals day after scoring two against France, and a hattrick in the semifinal against Fiji.
That gave New Zealand a 26-12 lead, and they held the lead over the last two minutes to win the China Sevens, defending their 2013 title.
The final leg of the Women's Sevens World Series takes place in Amsterdam, Holland, on May 16-17, with the series title up for grabs.