Rio 2016: Australia win historic first rugby sevens gold


Australia made history by claiming the first rugby sevens Olympic gold with a convincing 24-15 victory over New Zealand in the women's final at Rio 2016 on Monday.

The recently crowned World Series champions outscored the World Cup holders by four tries to three to lay their hands on the first rugby gold since the 15-player format last made an appearance in 1924. 

New Zealand applied the pressure early on, with Kayla McAlister putting a foot in touch after finding space down the right flank.

McAlister had better luck on the opposite wing when she opened the scoring after five minutes, touching down in the corner.

Tyla Nathan-Wong missed the conversion but produced a superb try-saving tackle to deny the rampaging Emma Tonegato, although the All Blacks defence proved unable to keep the Australian top scorer at bay for long, with the 21-year-old going over in the eighth minute.

A yellow card for Portia Woodman gave Australia the numerical advantage that created the space for Evania Pelite to cross shortly before the interval.

Even with Woodman back on the field, Tim Walsh's side continued to find gaps and Emilee Cherry stormed clear to tee up Sharni Williams for a simple touchdown - Chloe Dalton splitting the posts for a rare successful conversion.

And the gold medal was all but sealed when Charlotte Caslick went over to open up a 22-5 lead four minutes from time.

The impressive McAlister and Woodman crossed for late New Zealand consolation scores, but it is Australia who take home the medals to match their golden shirts after a commanding display.

New Zealand wiped away the tears to perform an emotional Haka for their fans at the Deodoro Stadium following the match.

Canada claimed the bronze medal thanks to a 33-10 victory over Great Britain, who were made to pay for their ill-discipline after being reduced to five players for two minutes of their semi-final defeat to New Zealand and losing captain Emily Scarratt to a yellow card in the bronze medal match.