Date, time, results of the 2023 Sydney Sevens: Payton Spencer and Maddison Levi return to the AFL
It was another action-packed day at the Sydney Sevens as All Blacks legend Carlos Spencer’s son, Payton, put on a show at Allianz Stadium. Get the latest news from the Sydney Sevens here.
There is a new Spencer on the block and judging by his debut he could haunt Australian rugby for years to come.
Payton Spencer, the 18-year-old son of All Blacks great Carlos Spencer, announced himself as a future star for the Sydney Sevens with a memorable first game at Allianz Stadium.
Spencer, who was drafted into the Kiwi squad straight out of high school, scored twice in his debut game in New Zealand’s 45-7 win over Uruguay on Friday afternoon.
His performance brought back memories of famous father “King Carlos,” who split defense as a five-eighth of the All Blacks and Blues in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Spencer didn’t demonstrate his father’s signature flick passes or chip kicks, but he did demonstrate the skill at holerunning and speed that his lineage has blessed him with.
“I didn’t play sevens that much, I just played 15s mostly, so to get this opportunity to play sevens and be in this professional environment straight away is pretty incredible,” Spencer said.
With New Zealand leading the World Series standings and hungry to win their first tournament in Sydney – they have two silvers and one bronze from the four previous events – Spencer’s introduction is a big boost to their championship aspirations.
While the Kiwis clinched an easy first win, Australia had to work hard in their opening game against Great Britain, scraping home 12-7.
Aussie ace Dietrich Roache split the defense to score the opening try after three minutes and it seemed like the home side would drive to victory.
But Robbie Ferguson crossed after sustained pressure on the half-time whistle and gave the Brits a 7-5 lead at the break.
Henry Paterson restored Australia’s lead two minutes into the second half but then they had to defend tenaciously to hold off Great Britain as they launched attack after attack.
A move from Maurice Longbottom to Australia’s 22 proved crucial and the squad will be relieved to survive with group games against Canada and Ireland on Saturday.
Maddison Levi played for Australia’s women and scored four tries in her second game in the 46-0 win over Spain.
Levi ensured she remains the top try scorer in the women’s series with a superb performance ahead of New Zealand’s Michaela Blyde.
“It’s easy to attack when I have a team like that to help me and prepare me,” Levi said.
Australia are top of their group but the toughest game comes against Ireland on Saturday (1.56pm) who will decide the winner of Group C.
Australia’s women began with a 28-12 win over Brazil, with Biel Terita scoring the opener in both halves.
After the first, Thalia da Silva Costa responded for Brazil with a smart individual try, beating Terita on the inside with a stride and running over to level the score.
But Madison Ashby soon put Australia back in front with a runaway try and secured the hosts a 14-7 lead at half-time.
Terita’s second try early in the second half gave Australia some breathing room and Teagan Levi secured the win with a breakout attempt.
New Zealand, leaders in the women’s series, looked in ominous form after beating Papua New Guinea 48-0 in their opening game.
WILL SIBLINGS SEVEN STAR CROSS CODES GO BACK TO AFL?
The whereabouts of the Levi sisters’ supporters this weekend will be crystal clear – 80 of them will be wearing Maddison and Teagan t-shirts at Allianz Stadium.
The sibling stars of the Australia women’s sevens team have been attracting a whole new group of fans to the sport since moving from AFLW, where they were signed to the Gold Coast Suns.
Maddison won World Series Rookie of the Year honors in her debut season last year and is already the leading tryscorer in the 2022-23 series after three events.
Now the sisters can finally play in front of their home crowd in the Sydney Sevens, played Friday through Sunday, with Melbourne fans and a busload of their junior AFL club in Queensland.
“Mom bought 80 t-shirts with our faces on them. She had messages from everyone coming in and saying, ‘Can I have one?'” Maddison Levi said.
“She talks all the time about how we have family and friends who have never seen rugby sevens but can’t get enough because of this mutual connection with Teags and I on the team. You sit and watch it all the time.
“They’re so excited to see it so they can come and see it in real life, the home country and the fans, that’s how many of us players were influenced to play rugby.
“Hosting a show and doing the same thing is pretty exciting.
“My friends and family were with us through the ups and downs, watching us kicking football around on the back of a swamp, not much happened. So it will be really cool if they watch us play the Sydney Sevens.”
Levi, 20, and 19-year-old Teagan grew up with a very different dream; to become world famous dancers.
“I used to dance, so all my old dancing friends come over to watch,” she said.
“I’ve done all styles, acro (a combination of classical dance and acrobatics), jazz, hip-hop. I originally dreamed of traveling the world dancing, now I’m traveling the world doing something completely different.
“If I hadn’t done dance, touch footy as a kid – my parents never forced us to do anything – the agility and light footing and ball and aerial techniques of the AFL paid off, I wouldn’t be the athlete that I am , if I hadn’t dabbled in all these sports.
“That’s probably the most important piece of advice I can give kids right now: don’t limit yourself to one sport and expect to excel. Play a little bit of everything and then you fall in love with a sport.”
Levi played with the Suns in the 2021 AFLW season while Teagan was their No. 1 draft pick before both switched codes.
While Levi has left the door open for a return to Australian rules, that won’t be until next year’s Olympics.
“It’s definitely still an option, they’re probably my biggest supporters,” Levi said.
“They were the ones who definitely helped make that decision. Teags and I definitely sat down, days of crying and stress, I don’t like letting people down.
“Now I look back, why was there a cry? AFL is always an option on the maps.
“I am grateful that I played this one season. But the opportunity to represent my country and travel the world with my best friends and sister is quite exciting.
“Everything happens for a reason, right now I should be here. And the upcoming 2024 Olympics are pretty exciting.
“Hopefully I can get on the flight to Paris with my sister, that will be an experience in itself.”
Originally posted as Sydney Sevens 2023: Follow the latest news and scores
https://www.codesports.com.au/rugby-union/sydney-sevens-2023-follow-the-latest-news-and-results/news-story/1b3cff1b655a5b8690f13825a15747d2?nk=52c56a1c4c1791f71f3d0ae33511054b-1674816668 Date, time, results of the 2023 Sydney Sevens: Payton Spencer and Maddison Levi return to the AFL