Olympics; Australia’s rugby sevens team took the title in Madrid

Australian star Maddison Levi scored a hat-trick of tries and the women’s rugby sevens team made a statement just weeks before the Olympics by winning the title with a resounding 26-7 victory over France in Spain, the last event before Paris.

Levi, who is competing in her second Olympic Games in Paris, scored 13 of Australia’s 21 tries in Madrid, including three hat-tricks in five matches. Her 69 tries this season are the second-best total in the series’ history for both the men and women.

The Australians also beat rivals New Zealand in the semi-finals on their way to victory, with captain and Rio 2016 gold medallist Charlotte Caslick shining.

“You can see how resilient our team is for such a young group of girls. Just the way they adapt to change and bounce back from adversity is really inspiring,” she said.

“They still have so much to give, they are so young and they just make me really proud and motivate me to get better every day.

“It’s obviously great to get a win over the Kiwis this morning, we have an exciting battle with them so we take some confidence from that. [leading into the Olympics] and believing in ourselves is really important.

“Like any team, we will work hard to get it right there [in Paris].”

Australian coach Tim Walsh said it was a “poetic end” to the season for his team, who now have a real chance of winning the gold medal.

“We are still building and this momentum will only motivate us to work even harder. Sevens has everything and especially in this sport you can’t take anything for granted,” he said.

“Charlotte was in world-class form and Maddison Levi continued her brilliant blitz. I was also particularly impressed by Faith Nathan, Bella Nasser and the outstanding Sariah Paki.

“Everyone has contributed here and at home. We are a professionally run program and we are Rugby Australia.”

Australia and New Zealand share the only two Olympic gold medals and will once again be the favorites in Paris.

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