NZ star Woodman rues indiscipline

Australia's Emma Tonegato (left) making it 5-5 in the women's rugby sevens final. Two minutes later, New Zealand's Portia Woodman (above) was yellow-carded for a deliberate knock-on and Australia took advantage by going 10-5 up within seconds. They w
Australia's Emma Tonegato (above) making it 5-5 in the women's rugby sevens final. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Australia's Emma Tonegato (left) making it 5-5 in the women's rugby sevens final. Two minutes later, New Zealand's Portia Woodman (above) was yellow-carded for a deliberate knock-on and Australia took advantage by going 10-5 up within seconds. They w
Two minutes later, New Zealand's Portia Woodman (above) was yellow-carded for a deliberate knock-on and Australia took advantage by going 10-5 up within seconds. They went on to win 24-17 for the gold.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

RIO DE JANEIRO • New Zealand's Portia Woodman lived up to star billing in the Olympic rugby sevens tournament - only to ruin it in the final against arch-rivals Australia.

The winger was left counting the cost of her own indiscipline following a deliberate knock-on that saw her sin-binned. Within seconds of her yellow card, Evania Pelite darted over in the corner to give Australia a 10-5 half-time advantage.

Ellia Green extended their lead soon after the break, before Charlotte Caslick put the game well beyond New Zealand in the 24-17 win.

Woodman did come back on and managed to score her 10th try to secure her position as the tournament's leading scorer. But, by then, hopes of gold had gone and she was in tears as the team performed a rousing post-match haka.

"I am a bit disappointed but mainly in my own game," said the 25-year-old who, with 119 tries over four seasons, is the all-time leading try-scorer in World Rugby Women's Sevens Series history.

"Nothing to do with the team. The team did an amazing job while I was out for those two long minutes. It just came down to that one mistake. It ended up being two tries that didn't need to happen."

The tournament marked the first time since 1924 that rugby has been played at the Olympics and the debut for sevens, the previous four incarnations featuring the men's 15-a-side format.

"It's incredible, we've worked so hard for this," said Australian skipper Shannon Parry. "When I started the game, women's rugby in Australia wasn't very big, it was very much a minority sport.

"To think eight years down the track, I'm now here playing rugby as a full-time profession."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 10, 2016, with the headline 'NZ star Woodman rues indiscipline'. Print Edition | Subscribe