Levi runs the show in Australia’s World Sevens triumph


Maddison Levi was the driving force behind Australia’s successful sevens campaign in Spain.
Maddison Levi was the driving force behind Australia’s successful sevens campaign in Spain.

Australia have been crowned women’s World Sevens Series champions after magnificent Maddison Levi starred in an epic finals climax in Madrid.

It was, quite simply, the Levi show as the sport-hopping superstar first led Australia to a last-gasp semi-final win over New Zealand, then bagged a brilliant hat-trick in a 26-7 title-deciding defeat of France.

France had kept level with Australia until halftime at Metropolitano Stadium – but then Levi took over.

By the time she had finished, Australia were celebrating gold medals amid brightening optimism for the forthcoming Paris Olympic Games.

Australia cut out the errors and took control of the second half. Levi brushed off two defenders for the go-ahead try, finished off the second in the other corner, and face-palmed a defender to score her third.

Levi scored 13 of Australia’s 21 tries in the Spanish capital, including three hat-tricks in five games. Her 69 tries in the season were the second-best total in series history, among men and women, after Vilimoni Delasau’s 83 for Fiji in the inaugural 1999-2000 season.

“I wouldn’t be able to do it without the girls inside me,” Levi modestly said.

Arguably her biggest moment was in the semi-final against New Zealand. The clock was in red, Australia trailed 19-14, and Levi regained the restart and ended up scoring the tying try. Then Tia Hinds slotted the conversion from the touchline.

New Zealand had won the last four tournaments. The battles with Australia finished 3-3 this season. The teams also share the only two Olympic gold medals and will be the favourites again in Paris.

Australia captain Charlotte Caslick noted its importance after the final.

“Great to get a win over the Kiwis this morning, we have a ding-dong battle with them,” she said.

“Just got confidence out of that and belief in ourselves which is really important moving into the Paris Games.”

Australia’s victory was also made more impressive after Madison Ashby and Lily Dick were ruled out for the season last month with season-ending knee injuries, while Sharni Smale remains sidelined following surgery.

“It’s awesome. We love coming to play in Spain. Every time we’ve been here it’s been amazing,” Casslick said.

“We had a really good weekend, we were clinical in our attack and defended our hearts out so it’s nice to be back on top.

“Losing Madi Ashby was a big bummer for us but we’re playing for her and all the other girls who can’t be here.

“You notice how resilient our team is for such a young group of girls, just the way they adapt to change and bounce back from adversity, it’s really inspiring.”

The men’s title was taken by France, who outmuscled Argentina 19-5 for their first World Series title.