Caslick and Levi inspire seven-man team to seal Olympics qualification
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Australia’s world champion women’s rugby sevens team have qualified for next year’s Olympics in a brilliant opener to a historic edition of the Hong Kong Sevens.
As the sport’s flagship annual event featured a women’s tournament for the first time in its 47-year history, the Charlotte Caslick-inspired World Cup winners opened group wins against Brazil and Egypt on Friday. Ireland.
It was enough to seal their place in the quarter-finals on Saturday, which guaranteed their automatic qualification for Paris 2024, where they hope to regain the crown conquered at Rio 2016 and make up for their disappointing exit in the quarter-finals of the last Olympic Games in Tokyo. .
Tim Walsh’s side join New Zealand, the United States and France as the first teams to book their place at the Games, and will now look to celebrate by winning the inaugural Hong Kong event.
World Sevens Player of the Year Caslick was in inspired mood as she scored three tries in Friday’s two games, netting a brace in a 43-5 crush of Brazil before scoring another in a much more contested 19-12 win. Ireland.
The Irish were pressing for a late equalizer when the Australian scrum trio won one against the head with a powerful shove, and Caslick happily kicked the resulting penalty into the crowd with the Olympic berth guaranteed.
Maddison Levi was also in familiar prolific tryout mode, catching a brace in the Brazil game that takes her to 46 in World Series games this season, a record for an Australian player and just six behind the women’s record set by Portia Woodman from New Zealand. with 52 in 2014-15.
Levi’s younger sister, teenager Teagan Levi, also got in on the act, scoring a try in every game and making five conversions in total.
On the men’s side, defending champion John Manenti’s Australian side also got off to a good start in their bid to create a piece of rugby history by winning two Hong Kong Sevens titles in the same season.
They were lucky due to a schedule change which means the 2023 event is back to its usual spring location after being staged in November last year for the first time since 2019.
In their only game of the day, the Aussies edged Japan 26-5, with two tries from Matthew Gonzalez and further scores from Maurice Longbottom and Dietrich Roache.