As one of the standout performers for Australia on the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series since she first came onto the international stage, no one doubts Charlotte Caslick’s incredible skills. She was an ever-present member of her country’s team that won the first ever rugby sevens Gold medal at the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics. In 2018, Caslick played an essential role in Australia’s undefeated title run at the HSBC Sydney 7s. She was also a force to be reckoned with at both the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast and the Rugby Sevens World Cup in San Francisco.
The 24-year-old Australian star certainly made her presence known at the 2019 HSBC Kitakyushu Sevens, putting on a sensational show on both sides of the ball.
Reaching new heights
Her effort made a huge impact – one that nearly catapulted her team to a fifth-place finish after falling behind a brilliant New Zealand squad 29-0 in the first half of the fifth place playoff. Although Australia came up short, losing 34-26, Caslick walked off the field with a whopping 66 points on the DHL Performance Tracker – miles ahead of her next rival.
That’s because she was seemingly omnipresent on both defense and the attack. With 21 tackles and 36 carriers, Caslick set two all-time performance tracker highs. With another 5 breaks and 4 offloads, she was 16 points ahead of Ireland’s Amee Leigh Murphy Crowe, who put up some impressive numbers herself (14 tackles, 6 breaks, 2 offloads and 28 carries).
👏 Well done to Australia's Charlotte Caslick who has won the #DHLImpactPlayer Award at the #Kitakyushu7s.— DHL Rugby (@DHLRugby) April 21, 2019
⛔️ Tackles: 21 | 💨 Breaks: 5 | 👌 Offloads: 4 | 🏃♂️ Carries: 36
An amazing performance that saw her finish 16 points clear on the DHL Performance Tracker! #DHLRugbypic.twitter.com/OVwB6YhGHU
New Zealand captain Sarah Hirini has been consistently solid throughout the series, tying for sixth in Kitakyushu with 40 points and moving herself to the top of the overall DHL Performance Tracker. At 174 points, she’s now six points clear of Russia’s Alena Mikhaltsova (168), the IPA-veteran who won the first DHL Impact Player Award of the series at the Glendale Sevens back in October. Hirini’s teammate, Michaela Blyde, who was the DHL Impact Player in Sydney, was out on injury and now faces a real uphill battle to defend her 2018 title. France’s Shannon Izar and Ireland’s Amee Leigh Murphy Crowe are tied for third place with 160 points and now have a real chance to shine at the final two rounds in Langford and Biarritz.
The run to the Cup final was a nail-biter to the very end, with Canada converting on the last play of the tournament to beat England 7-5 in the lowest scoring final in HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series history. The win secured the team’s first title on the women’s series since 2017.
England looked on course to claim their first Cup title since April 2016 as the clock turned to red with them leading 5-0 after Amy Wilson Hardy’s try late in the first half, but Canada dug deep and worked their way from one end of the field to the other before captain Ghislaine Landry found a gap in the defense to run round behind the posts and give herself a straightforward conversion to win the match.
Canada’s run included an impressive 24-12 win over USA in the semifinal, and their victory means they now have a complete set of medals this season. It also moved them up to second place in the overall standings.
England enjoyed an almost faultless tournament, reaching the final unbeaten, before going down in the last play of the final. It’s by far their most impressive outing of the season and it’s seen them move within a point of the Irish in sixth.
USA secured their second third place in a row, as they dispatched France 36-12 in the third-place playoff. Their highlight was producing an impressive 26-19 win over New Zealand in the quarter finals – a result that has closed the gap to the Black Ferns.
The fantastic match-up between neighbors New Zealand and Australia also kept fans on the edge of their seats to the very end, with New Zealand just barely holding on to win 34-26. Elsewhere, Fiji beat Spain 41-12 to take the Challenge Trophy.
The fifth-place finish by the otherwise dominant Black Ferns has kept hopes alive in Canada and USA. Only eight points separate the top three teams with two tournaments remaining. The title is definitely up for grabs at this point.
Next up: Langford
The HSBC World Rugby Women's Sevens Series 2019 now moves onto Langford in Victoria, Canada, for the penultimate round on May 11-12.
With only two tournaments to play, the Langford Sevens could prove to be a pivotal moment. Will New Zealand regain their form and hold off their northern challengers? Will Hirini continue her solid play, lead her team to their fourth gold medal and retain her position at the top of the DHL Performance Tracker? Or will Mikhaltsova be the one to watch? Perhaps Caslick will put up more record-breaking numbers?
We’ll just have to wait and see.
DHL Impact Player Award
A rugby player produces moments of skill and flair that are critical to a team’s success on the pitch, in the same way that DHL uses care and commitment to service your shipments. The DHL Impact Player Award recognizes such moments using a statistical analysis of individual players performances measured against four key criteria: Offloads, Carries, Line breaks and Tackles. The scores are compiled and presented on the DHL Performance Tracker, where the total score for each player is a combination of each criteria.
A winner is announced at the end of each individual tournament and the Overall Series Winner is judged across all 10 legs for Men’s and all 5 for the Women’s.
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