The Zealand women’s sevens rugby team started their Commonwealth Games campaign today as they mean to go on.
Sarah Goss and her team smashed Kenya 45-0 in their opening match and repeated the dose a few hours later when dismissing South Africa 41-0.
The Olympic silver medallists could hardly have been more impressive, running in a total of 14 tries in their two matches and not conceding a point.
They will play Canada in their final pool match, and then it will be into the play-offs.
New Zealand had never played Kenya before at women’s sevens, but were straight into their stride. Portia Woodman, the try-scoring machine, contributed three tries, Niall Williams added two, and Gayle Broughton and Kelly Brazier also scored tries. Tyla Nathan-Wong landed five of her six conversion attempts.
Against South Africa, the New Zealanders were quickly into their try-scoring habit again. This time Woodman restricted herself to two, and others were scoffed by Broughton, Brazier, Michaele Blyde, Williams and the captain, Goss. Nathan-Wong was successful with three of her six conversion attempts.
Williams said afterwards the team had been given a huge lift seeing the crowd gathering for the women’s-only rugby session.
“We pulled up in our van and saw the crowds gathering. It made us feel special that people wanted to see what the women could do. It’s unreal finally having women’s sevens in the Commonwealth Games.”
She said the New Zealand team had wanted to stamp their authority on the tournament.
“We wanted to come out and put on a good performance and we did that. We just wanted to play our style, let the ball do the work.”
She warned that Canada would not be easy in the final pool match. “They are usually up with us and Australia in tournaments, so we know that will be a tough game.”Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Gayle Broughton Kelly Brazier Niall Williams Michaela Blyde Portia Woodman Sarah Hirini Tyla Nathan-Wong Rugby - Sevens