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Commonwealth Games 2022: Black Ferns Sevens to play for bronze after Australia win semifinal

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

The Black Ferns Seven’s impressive run at major tournaments has come to an end as they lost a thrilling Commonwealth Games semifinal 17-12 to Australia.

After a run of Commonwealth Games, World Cup and Olympic titles, the loss was heartbreaking for the Ferns, who will now play off in the bronze medal match against Canada.

“I’m absolutely gutted to be honest and pretty emotional,” said captain Sarah Hirini. “I know how hard those girls will take that. Just the amount of work they put in to get to that point and for it to be so close.

“But we’ve also been on the winning end of a few games like that. I guess that’s the good and shit thing about sevens.

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

The two rivals faced each other in the semifinals after Australia earlier were stunned by Fiji in their pool match. Australia will now play Fiji for gold.

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

Australia’s Maddison Levi led the way with a hat-trick including the crucial go-ahead try with just over a minute to play.

Team Australia celebrate after victory in the Women's Rugby Sevens semifinal against New Zealand. Photo / Getty
Team Australia celebrate after victory in the Women’s Rugby Sevens semifinal against New Zealand. Photo / Getty

Levi was then yellow-carded for pulling Portia Woodman’s hair, leaving Australia to six players but a crucial steal with New Zealand hot on attack ended the game.

“I thought we had it,” said Hirini. “When we’ve got a little sniff, we’ve got an opportunity and we’ve got the ball I back our team 100 percent to get over the line, but we just didn’t.”

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

“Today just wasn’t good enough. We’ll soak in it, marinate in it, take some learnings from that, and we’ve still got a medal to play for, so will still hopefully do our country proud.

“Watch out whoever we play tomorrow, we’re coming for you.”

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