Rio 2016: New Zealand Women qualify for rugby sevens event

Sean Horan's side become the first nation to book their place at the inaugural event at the Olympic Games next year

By Gareth Llewellyn
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Spain celebrate their shock 19-15 win over New Zealand Photo: World Rugby/Martin Seras Lima

New Zealand Women qualified for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro on the first day of the London Sevens Cup at the Twickenham Stoop.

Sean Horan’s charges became the first nation – other than hosts Brazil – to qualify for the inaugural rugby sevens event.

It wasn’t an easy ride for New Zealand despite opening their trip to London with a 34-0 win over Brazil.

A last-minute Patricia Garcia try gave Spain a surprise 19-15 win in their second match of the day, ending their 37-match unbeaten run, but the ‘Sisters’ bounced back to secure their place in Rio with a 24-0 win over France.

Captain Sarah Goss was lost for words after the news of the dream come true started to sink in.

“We’ve been focusing on this for the last three and a half years and for it to be a reality now is amazing,” Goss told World Rugby’s website.

“I’m just really proud of the girls, as they’ve put in a lot of hard work in the last six months.”

New Zealand will now face hosts England in the quarter-finals as they look to win their fifth title in this year’s Women’s Sevens Series.

England also finished the day with two wins from three outings as they despatched South Africa 28-7 and Russia 21-12 before going down to Canada 31-0 in their final match to finish second in their pool.

Canada, who are second in the Women’s Sevens Series, booked a quarter-final date with Russia after edging out the Eastern Europeans 14-12 and securing a 45-0 win over South Africa.

Spain’s efforts on the day were enough to book a quarter-final against Australia on the second day of competition.

Tim Walsh’s Australia topped Pool C after with two wins and a draw, defeating Fiji 15-5 and China 31-0, but they had to make do well a 12-12 draw against USA despite kicking away a chance to win with the clock red.

The USA continued their good run of form in the series with a 41-7 win over China and 24-19 over Fiji to set up a quarter-final against France.

The women’s final and third-place final will take place at Twickenham, where the men’s event is taking place.

Quarter-Finals Draw:

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