Pearls shine brightly
THE Aussie Pearls put on sparkling performances at the weekend's Hyperion Rugby Sevens to stretch their unbeaten run to 16 on the trot.
Though trot is not really the word to associate with this team, which boasts players throughout who are blessed with abundant speed.
While the Aussie Thunderbolts men's team was bundled out in a heart-stopping extra-time semi-final against Red Rock, its women's counterpart, the Aussie Pearls, won the Women's Cup final to continue its extraordinary recent record.
The Pearls defeated 2009 Hyperion winner Eastsyde 20-0 in a spirited final and not only finished the tournament unbeaten after six games (scoring 218 points), they kept their opponents to nil for the third successive tournament.
The Pearls, most of whom will form the majority of the Australian team for the Dubai World Series in two weeks, have maintained an impressive 16-game winning streak without having a point scored against them.
Eastsyde threw everything at the Pearls and only determined, last-ditch defence and aggressive play at the breakdown prevented the Brisbane women from scoring.
The Pearls ran in four tries to nil.
Alexandra Hargreaves produced another outstanding display of crunching defence and backed up to score a deserved try under the posts.
Pearls coach Chris Lane had pinpointed the team's defence in its week-long Casuarina training camp last week and it told in the impressive effort during the two-day tournament on the Gold Coast.
"I couldn't be happier with the way the girls applied themselves in training and in game-day preparation and to maintain that defensive record is certainly something to be proud of," Lane said.
"It is the perfect lead-in for Dubai and the confidence-building and team spirit has been great - bring on Dubai."
The Australian team's touch football recruits Emilee Cherry, Lizzy Campbell and Alicia Quirk have added a touch of speed and agility to the power and precision of Lane's squad.
Cherry and Campbell had a double celebration after playing for the Southern Stars team in the winning Brisbane touch football grand final against the Sunshine Coast Colts on Saturday night.
They returned to the Gold Coast the next morning to play their parts in the Aussie Pearls' success.
The 2011 Dubai Sevens on December 2-3, which coincides with the second leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series, will be the first officially sanctioned women's international sevens tournament, apart from the Rugby World Cup Sevens, and will include a host of nations keen to put on a show.
Newly-appointed Pearls captain Rebecca Tavo will lead her young team to Dubai determined not only to maintain its impressive unbeaten record, but also to keep its tryline intact.