November 29 - Australia stunned World Cup winners New Zealand to win the opening round of the International Rugby Board (IRB) Women's World Sevens Series in Dubai as they came from behind to win a thrilling final 35-27.
In addition to their World Cup title in Moscow, New Zealand won three of the four events in the 2012-2013 series en route to the overall title and were heavy favourites to do so again this time around.
But, despite leading for much of the game thanks to tries from Honey Hireme and Kayla McAlister, their Antipodean rivals came roaring back in the second half with Rachel Crothers leading the way with a superb hat-tric of tries.
Crothers received most of the plaudits but Australian coach Tim Walsh insisted that the victory was due to the superior fitness and conditioning of the entire team.
"It's not a fluke, the girls have worked really hard on their core skills," he said.
"We've been progressing the whole way through pre-season.
"But every team is going to up their game going into the next round of the series, and we just have to keep working."
Victorious captain Williams was equally delighted with the effort shown by her troops and saw having a "little bit in the tank at the end of the game" as key.
"We were missing a lot of tackles but when we got our hands on the ball we felt strong and we attacked," she said.
Australia had provided a sign of what was to come by overpowering Russia 31-0 in the semi-final, while In a repeat of their 2013 World Cup final New Zealand edged out Canada 19-5.
Russia did secure third place with a 15-0 win over the Canadians, while England bounced back their quarter-final loss to Australia with a 17-10 victory over Spain to claim the Plate competition.
In the Bowl event for teams who had not made it through to the knock-out stages Fiji ended on top after 14-10 final win over France.
There were less surprises on the opening day of the men's event as New Zealand remained on course to repeat their season opening Gold Coast victory and make swift amends for their female counterparts.
New Zealand, who are also the overall series defending champions, overcame Argentina 26-19.
South Africa ousted Kenya 21-12 in a match where new Kenya boss Paul Treu was unable to overcome his old side, while Fiji beat Scotland 26-12.
The most eagerly anticipated quarter final however pitted England against Wales and, despite the Welsh being unbeaten and England having lost to Fiji, it was England who ended on top with a 33-12 victory thanks largely to a hatrick from Marcus Watson.
England will now face South Africa in the last four while Fiji face the formidable task of taking on New Zealand - with the tournament coming to a head on the final day of action on Sunday (November 30).
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