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Australia takes gold in first-ever women’s rugby sevens competition

Rugby - Olympics: Day 1

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 06: Chloe Dalton of Australia runs with the ball during a Women’s Pool A rugby match between Australia and Fiji on Day 1 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Deodoro Stadium on August 6, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

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Rivals Australia and New Zealand entered the Rio Olympics as the top two ranked teams in women’s rugby sevens, so the fact that they met for the first-ever Olympic gold medal in the event came as a surprise to no one. And in the end it was Australia that made history, as they beat New Zealand 24-17.

Four different players scored a try for Australia, which won Pool A on eight points and was the top seed in bracket play, and Chloe Dalton made two of her four conversion kicks in the match. New Zealand, the second seed in the tournament, received two tries from Kayla McAlister but they were unable to come back from a 24-5 second half deficit.

McAlister’s first try at the 4:11 mark of the first half gave New Zealand a 5-0 lead, but Australia’s Emma Tonegato answered with a try of her own to level the score at 5-all. A yellow card assessed to Portia Woodman late in the first half placed New Zealand a player down for two minutes, and it was during this period that Australia took a lead they would not relinquish. Evania Pelite’s try in extra time gave Australia a 10-5 lead at the intermission, and they would score the first 14 points of the second half to put the match out of reach.

Winning the bronze medal was Canada, which beat Great Britain 33-10 in the bronze medal match. The United States finished in fifth place.