All Blacks Sevens claim record-equalling sixth Dubai Sevens title

The Fiji sevens team huddle together during a training session in Dubai

The Fiji sevens team huddle together during a training session in Dubai

Defending champions Australia ended England's hopes in the quarter-finals of the Dubai Women's Rugby Sevens.

Canada has back-to-back podium finishes in the first two of six 2018-19 World Series tournaments, out of which the top-four teams at the end of the season will qualify for the Tokyo Summer Games.

In the semi-final against the United States of America, played in the fading desert sunlight, Australia led 17-12 deep into the second half and had chances to close it out but small mistakes gave the Eagles an opportunity with Stephen Tomasin levelling the scores.

But they fell to two heartbreaking losses after the siren, to U.S. in the semi-final and England in the third place play-off, to narrowly miss out on the podium.

However, the US scored two quick tries before Australia hit back under the posts but it was a try in referee time that broke Australia's hearts, finishing the scores at 17-22.

The Langford-based Canadian Women's Rugby Sevens team finished with five wins, including a 15-10 semi-final victory over Rio Olympic Gold Medalist Australia, before falling to the #1 Seed New Zealand in the Dubai Sevens Series Cup Final. "Even the boys back home who couldn't be here, I know they were cheering us on". Team USA finished sixth previous year.

Fiji were beaten by New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup Sevens and Commonwealth Games
Fiji were beaten by New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup Sevens and Commonwealth Games

The next leg takes place in Cape Town next weekend.

They meet France at 11:44am before wrapping up their Pool "B" outing against former Series champions Fiji at 6:06pm.

Meanwhile, New Zealand's women's team secured their fourth title at the Dubai tournament after beating Canada 26-14 in the final on Friday (Saturday NZT).

Far tougher was the semi-finals, where New Zealand scored early against England, led 7-5 at half-time, then spent the entire second half on defence, as England remarkably did everything but score. Muller du Plessis scored a brace and Rosko Specman scored one and provided two tries assists.

The first half was a stop-start affair with the Blitzboks just edging Scotland 5-0 at the break. The teams also met in pool play on Friday with New Zealand winning, 24-7.

Ngarohi McGarvey-Black's late try sealed the win.

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