Australia weather storm for Touch World Cup glory

By Te Ao - Māori News

Heading into the final day of the Touch World Cup, New Zealand led the way with three titles already secured. By the end of the day, however, Australia's dominance in the open grade sections saw them walk away with the final four titles.

NZ 35 Men’s were the first to take the field on day six in Malaysia. The Kiwis were on the back foot early, having conceded two tries in the first seven minutes. Australia never conceded the lead, despite the Kiwi side giving it their all in the closing minutes. With Australia attacking the NZ line with time nearly up, Luke Chapman spotted an intercept and ran the length of the field only to put a toe on the white paint inches short of the try line. Australia went on to claim their nation's third gold medal of the tournament, hanging on to win 6-5.

The Open Mixed final was a case of who wanted it most, with the lead changing hands several times. The Kiwi middles created problems for the Aussies throughout the game. Eventually, however, it was the 'Green and Golds' who had the lead when the final hooter sounded, taking away the gold medal 7-6.

As with the previous day's play, the elements played havoc with the tournament once again. The Open Women’s game was forced to stop at half-time while a thunderstorm passed by. Before the weather delay, however, Toni Wells ran a sweep which opened up space for Meg Sycamore to cross the paint but the Aussies still managed to carry a 5-2 lead into half-time. When play resumed, the Australian side carried on where they left off, scoring 5 more times, to run away with the gold 10-2. 

The Open Men’s was the last game of the tournament and again featured the Trans-Tasman rivals. As in the Women's and Mixed sections, NZ started off slow but gradually found themselves in the thick of the action. Ruamai Erueti was on the end of a long ball out wide to square the game up 1-1. The Aussies hit back, before Reihana Soutar-Finch's quick thinking saw him take a quick tap penalty 5 out from the line to tie the scores again. The Aussies scored twice more with the Touch Blacks only managing one more in reply, rounding a sweep for Australia, taking the match 4-3. 

Overall, Australia returns home with 8 golds, while the Kiwi teams taking away 3. 

Section results:

Open Men's: 

1st: Australia
2nd: New Zealand
3rd: Japan

Open Women's

1st: Australia
2nd: New Zealand
3rd: Japan

Open Mixed:

1st: Australia
2nd: New Zealand
3rd: Scotland

Women's 27s:

1st: New Zealand
2nd: Australia
3rd: England

Men's 35's:

1st: Australia
2nd: South Africa
3rd: France

Women's 35's:

1st: Australia
2nd: New Zealand
3rd: England

Men's 40's:

1st: New Zealand
2nd: Australia
3rd: Japan

Men's 45's:

1st: Australia
2nd: New Zealand
3rd: South Africa

Men's 50's:

1st: New Zealand
2nd: Australia
3rd: Singapore