‘Absolutely gutted’: Weeping black ferns reflect on semi-final defeat

'Absolutely gutted': Weeping black ferns reflect on semi-final defeat


Charlotte Caslick of Team Australia is approached by Tyla Nathan-Wong and Sarah Hirini of Team New Zealand during the Women’s Rugby Sevens Semifinal. Photo / Getty Images

The Black Ferns Seven’s impressive run at major tournaments came to an end when they lost a thrilling Commonwealth Games semi-final 17-12 to Australia.

After a string of Commonwealth Games, World Cups and Olympic titles, the defeat was heartbreaking for the Ferns, who will now be vying for the bronze medal match against Canada.

“I am absolutely devastated to be honest and very emotional,” said Captain Sarah Hirini. “I know how hard these girls are going to take this. Just the amount of work they put in to get to this point and get it this close.

“But we’ve also been on the winning side of some games like that. I think that’s the good and bad thing about sevens.

It’s revenge for Australia after New Zealand beat them in overtime on the Gold Coast four years ago to claim gold.

The two rivals faced each other in the semi-finals after Australia was defeated by Fiji in their pool match. Australia will now play Fiji for the gold.

“We just don’t hold the ball for long periods or phases,” Hirini said. “We know if we do that it’s a lot easier to score attempts, we just can’t contain the ball in the rucks.

Australia’s Maddison Levi led the game with a hat-trick, including the crucial go-ahead attempt with just over a minute to go.

Team Australia celebrates after winning the Women's Rugby Sevens semi-final against New Zealand.  Photo / Getty
Team Australia celebrates after winning the Women’s Rugby Sevens semi-final against New Zealand. Photo / Getty

Levi was booked for pulling Portia Woodman’s hair, leaving Australia for six, but a crucial steal with New Zealand up front ended the game.

“I thought we did,” Hirini said. “When we sniff a little, we have an opportunity and we have the ball, I support our team 100 percent to get over the line, but we just can’t.”

“It sucks,” Tyla Nathan-Wong said. “We worked hard for those moments and unfortunately that one slipped away.

“Today wasn’t good enough. We’re going to dive into it, marinate in it, take some lessons from it, and we still have a medal to go for, so we still hope to make our country proud.

“Careful who we play with tomorrow, we’re coming after you.”

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