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'Unbelievable': Levi sisters star in Australia's EPIC Dubai 7s triumph over Black Ferns, men rally

3rd December, 2023
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3rd December, 2023
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Maddison Levi and her sister Teagan have inspired Australia’s rugby women to a blistering triumph in the season-opening Dubai Sevens, while dynamiting New Zealand’s world-record 41-match unbeaten streak.

Dual-code star Maddison ended a magnificent tournament with a world series record of 12 tries in a single event as the Aussie World Cup winners defeated their great trans-Tasman rivals 26-19 in the final on Sunday.

And her younger sister Teagan stepped up with a match-winning performance in the final, scoring two key tries and notching 14 points as Australia became the first team ever to win the same world series women’s event four times in a row in the UAE desert.

In doing so, they also ended the New Zealanders’ air of invincibility as the reigning world series champions were finally beaten after a year when they set a women’s world record of 41 straight series wins which began after Australia had beaten them in the 2022 Dubai final.

Maddison Levi, the 21-year-old recently short-listed as women’s world sevens player of the year after scoring a record 57 tries in last season’s series, was the driving force and it felt fitting she should plough through two tackles and go over for the crucial trophy-deciding try in the final with the scores locked at 19-19. 

But it was the former AFLW star’s 20-year-old sibling Teagan, also previously drafted by the Gold Coast Suns, who was the player of the final, scoring a robust try just before halftime to give the Australians a 14-12 interval lead after Jorja Miller’s double had put New Zealand in control.

World rookie sevens player of the year Miller went on to land a hat-trick but Teagan scored another soon after the interval and Maddison Levi grabbed the decider, with Australia’s powerhouse opening try scorer in the final, 20-year-old Bienne Tarita, also having a big say.

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Australian players pose with their medals after winning the final against New Zealand during the HSBC SVNS rugby tournament on December 3, 2023 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Martin Dokoupil/Getty Images)

Earlier, Maddison Levi had scored two sensational efforts in a 21-14 semi-final win over France, the second of which came from almost her own tryline when the Aussies were down to six women after a red card for a second dangerous tackle from their enforcer, AlysiaLefau-Fakaosilea.

In the quarters, Maddison Levi had also scored another two tries in the 32-5 win over the USA.

“It’s amazing,” said Australian captain Charlotte Caslick. “It was disappointing losing Alysia for the final, but it shows the depth we’ve been creating, and Bienne stepped up to have a blinder. It’s just awesome.

“Teagan, she’s unbelievable, had an amazing pre-season, we’re all getting to see the hard work she’s done. We’ve all worked so hard for this.”

Meanwhile, Australia’s men’s team have a lot to work on after they got knocked out in the quarter-finals by South Africa, coach John Manenti admitted.

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The Blitzboks’ 24-7 win was Australia’s third defeat of the weekend, with only a Nathan Lawson try to show for their efforts in the last-eight loss.

They later bounced back to beat the USA 26-12 in the seventh place playoff, featuring two more scores for Lawson and other tries from Dietrich Roache and Maurice Longbottom.

Having brushed aside the Aussies, South Africa went on to beat Argentina 12-7 in the men’s final.

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