New Zealand Produces Another Sevens Double in Sydney


Just like in Dubai a couple months ago, New Zealand reigned supreme in both the Men’s and Women’s Sevens in Sydney this weekend. 

Photo: Mike Lee – KLC Foto for World Rugby


No team came close to the Black Ferns in Syndey. After outscoring their pool opponents—Papua New Guinea, France, and England—98-12, They defeated Canada in the Cup Quarterfinals, 17-7, and then dismissed the USA, 29-5, in the semifinals. 

That set up a Cup Final against Australia and a chance at revenge for a 31-0 whitewash last year at the hands of the Wallaroo. They have not lost in any competitive match since (49 competitive matches). Stacy Waaka did it at both ends scoring the opening try and then denying Evania Pelite one by tackling her into touch before the try line. Emma Sykes did get the equalizing try for Australia, but the game would turn on Sharni Williams’s yellow card for taking a player out in the air. 

The Black Ferns quickly made the score 17-5 at half on tries by Shakira Baker and Michaela Blade. The Black Ferns would eventually pull away for a 34-10 win and a 12-point lead in the Series Standings on the USA. New Zealand have now won 37 straight matches in the Series which is one shy of their record from 2014-15. 

The USA did leave with bronze after defeating Ireland, 26-10. The USA overcame a pool defeat by Spain to upset the hosts, 19-12, and then put in a gritty performance to down Russia in the quarterfinals, 7-5. Kris Thomas and Kristi Kirshe both got braces in the bronze-medal match. 

Canada took fifth, coming from behind to defeat France, 19-17, in the fifth-place final. Canada and Australia are joint-third on 46 points in the Series Standings, both 14 points clear of France in fifth position. The top four in the Women’s Series (as well as the Men’s) qualify automatically for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

The next stop for the women will be Kitakyushu, Japan on April 20-21. 

Sydney Sevens Women’s Dream Team:

Eve Higgins (IRL)

Sarah Hirini (NZL)

Sharni Williams (AUS)

Lucy Mulhall (IRL)

Evania Pelite (AUS)

Gayle Broughton (NZL)

Ellia Green (AUS)

Player of the Final:  Stacy Waaka (NZL)


Once again, the USA reached the Cup Final, but once again were clearly second best when they got there. Like in Dubai, New Zealand proved the better team with a 21-5 victory (same as in Dubai) and the All Blacks took over the Series lead, though the USA remain level on points in second place. 

Both teams strolled through pool play. New Zealand outscored Wales, Spain, and Scotland by a combined 110-14 while the USA went through France, Kenya, and Canada by a combined 84-14. The All Blacks then dismissed France in the quarterfinals (29-7) and then Fiji in the semfinals (36-14) taking advantage after Sevuloni Mocenacagi was sent off for lifting Scott Gregory above the horizontal as they battled for the kickoff. The USA defeated Spain easily in the quarterfinals and then saw Dan Norton’s early try for England in the semifinals and doubled it through Steve Tomasin and Ben Pinkleman. 

In the Final, the Eagles would once again run into a buzzsaw as Regan Ware, Sam Dickson, and Tone Ng Shiu all got tries than more than offset Brett Thompson’s consolation try late. The USA have made four straight Cup Finals, but have now been outscored in them, 99-25. 

England took bronze with a 19-17 win over Fiji for their first podium of the current campaign. England went 19-0 up before withstanding a Apenisa Cakaubalavu hat trick of tries. South Africa took fifth place with a 12-10 win over Australia, and Argentina won the Challenge Trophy with a 10-7 decision over Japan. 

As mentioned before, New Zealand now top the series standings on 76 points with the USA level in second place, but with an inferior total point differential. Fiji are four points back in third place and South Africa are in the fourth and final automatic Olympic qualifying spot on 57 points. England are fifth on 55 points. 

Next stop on the Sevens Series is Las Vegas (where the USA are defending champions) on March 1-3.

Sydney Sevens Men’s Dream Team:

Mesulame Kunavula (FIJ)

Sam Dickson (NZL)

Steve Tomasin (USA)

Alasio Naduca (FIJ)

Madison Hughes (USA)

Kurt Baker (NZL)

Dan Norton (USA)

Player of the Final:  Sam Dickson (NZL)


Pool A:  New Zealand, Spain, Canada, Samoa

Pool B:  USA, France, Argentina, Kenya

Pool C:  England, South Africa, Japan, 16th team

Pool D:  Fiji, Australia, Wales, Scotland


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