Aussie women make Sydney Sevens statement
RUGBY UNION: With a thumping tackle on the stroke of half-time, Australia's women's side announced its arrival at the Sydney Sevens as Ellia Green hammered Iera Echbarria across the touchline.
More so than the five tries the Olympic champions scored - as Australia routed Spain 29-0 in their opening match - the thundering tackle signalled intent at their home tournament.
Last year in Sydney Australia looked a shadow of their usual selves.
The pressure told as they struggled to deal with the expectation of hosting their maiden home tournament and the tag of being world and Olympic champions.
They finished the season winless, the first time that had happened under coach Tim Walsh.
But none of the nerves present last year were on show on Australia Day in Sydney, as Australia looked calm and collected.
Emma Sykes was superb for the home side, scoring Australia's first try in the first minute of the match.
A couple of minutes later, Charlotte Caslick crossed to extend the lead to 14-0.
Green, making her return after almost 10 months out of the game with a knee injury, then scored with her first touch of the match to give Australia a 19-0 lead at half-time.
Australia scored another two tries in the second half with Evania Pelite dotting down and Sykes completing her brace.
"The girls came out firing and it was a really good first game result but we've still got a lot to learn and fix up on, but it was a good first game,” Sykes said.
"It was good to get out there and get the first win of the tournament, but we're just taking each game as they come and trying to forget that it's at home. It's just round two of the World Series.
"It's a team effort, so everything you do individually comes by the team putting in the work beforehand.”
The fast and furious World Series tournament is being held at Allianz Stadium across all three days of the Australia Day long weekend. The matches will be screened on Fox Sports.
The men's competition kicks off at 6pm Friday night, with Australia's first match against a pacy United States outfit at 8.12pm.