(ATR)New Zealand take one step closer to Olympic qualification, and the United States make it to their first World Rugby Sevens Series final of the season.
The Atlanta, Georgia suburb of Kennesaw welcomed the 2014-15 World Rugby Women's Sevens Series, March 14-15.
World Rugby and USA Rugby staged competition for the Atlanta Seven Seriesat Kennesaw's Fifth Third Bank Stadium.
Twelve teams from around the world, with 12 players a squad, participated in the competition--which is doubling as an Olympic qualifier. Rugby returns to the Olympics at the Rio Games in 2016.
This may be the first time since the 1996 Summer Games that teams from countries such as Australia, Fiji, South Africa, and Russia have gathered in Atlanta to compete in an Olympic sport.
The final match in the tournament took place on Sunday between New Zealand, the defending champions, and the U.S. New Zealand beat the U.S. 50-12.
"The game is growing and we can't take anything for granted now," New Zealand coach Sean Horan told World Rugby on Sunday.
"We're number one and we wear a black jersey and everyone's gunning for us."
U.S. captain Kelly Griffin said her team was just happy to have made it the final. "We've been working really hard.
"Obviously we have work to do but we're certainly improving from tournament to tournament."
All of the matches were streamed online. Both the men's and women's Rugby Sevens tournaments can be viewed at WorldRugby.org.
Australia, Canada, France, and New Zealand currently top the standings for the2014-15 World Rugby Women's Sevens Series.
Aside from its stop in Atlanta, the tournament has gone to Dubai, UAE and Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Now teams will travel to Langford, British Columbia (CA), April 18-19, London, May 15-16, and Amsterdam, May 22-23.
The Olympic qualification period for women's Rugby Sevens will end this fall.
Written byNicole Bennett
Home page and top photo: World Rugby
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