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Blyde joins special club as New Zealand teams fall short in Cape Town

Blyde joins special club as New Zealand teams fall short in Cape Town

All BlacksDecember 11, 2023

Success in the second round of the HSBC SVNS World Series eluded the All Blacks Sevens and Black Ferns Sevens in Cape Town at the weekend.

The Black Ferns Sevens went down to France 12-24 in the semifinals, while the All Blacks Sevens were rocked 36-21 by a ferocious Ireland.

The Black Ferns Sevens kept in touch with the competition leaders by claiming third play when beating the USA 19-7 in the playoff for third.

Australia followed their Dubai win with a 29-26 win over France in the Cape Town final. While leading 22-0 at the half, Australia had to withstand a fierce French fightback when down to six players for the final moments.

France was similarly reduced to six players at the end of their game against New Zealand but still scored a try for only their third semifinal win.

One highlight for the Black Ferns Sevens was seeing Michaela Blyde join Portia Woodman-Wickliffe as the only members of the 200-try club in the competition.

Blyde achieved the goal in the 41-0 quarterfinal win over Canada. She had to get through two tacklers to complete the try.

She said, "It was only fitting that it was probably the hardest try I've scored in my life, and it had to be the 200th.

"It's been a goal of mine for a while. The next one is to be in front of Portia, but that might take a while, if she doesn't retire before me."

The New Zealanders started the day with an emphatic win over Canada. They were up 19-0 by halftime, with Woodman-Wickliffe scoring in the first minute and then Jazmin Felix-Hotham and Blyde scoring in the fourth and eighth minutes.

The next HSBC SVNS tournament takes place in Perth, Australia, on 26-28 January. Check out the full schedule HERE

The moment Blyde hit 200! 🇳🇿#HSBCSVNS | #HSBCSVNSCPT pic.twitter.com/M8666StBMw

— HSBC SVNS (@SVNSSeries) December 10, 2023

Kelly Brazier opened the scoring in the second half's first minute, followed by Tenika Willison, Mahina Paul and Stacey Waaka in the 11th, 14th and 16th minutes.

Captain Risi Pouri-Lane said the Black Ferns went out to claim the title but were happy they could put their disappointment behind them to claim third.

"We know we've got more in us. It's a long season ahead, so we'll keep building."

In the semifinal, France scored two unanswered tries in the first half through Anne-Cecile Ciofani in the second and sixth minutes. Blyde scored a converted try in the ninth minute, and Woodman-Wickliffe levelled the scores in the 12th minute.

But France stormed home as Camille Grassineau and Ian Jason scored in the last three minutes.

Australia dominates the women's standings with 40 points, France is second with 34, and New Zealand is third with 34. Fiji and Canada are each on 24 points in fourth and fifth place, respectively.

The All Blacks Sevens ran into a rampant Terry Kennedy in their quarterfinal. The 2022 World Rugby Sevens player of the year scored a first-half hat-trick when his speed created strains for the New Zealand defence.

The Irish fought hard at the breakdown and shut out any chance of the All Blacks Sevens getting into the game. Ireland led 26-0 by halftime, and while New Zealand scored 21 points in the second half through Tepaea Cook Savage (11 mins), Cody Vai (12 mins), and Ngarohi McGarvey-Black (16 mins), Ireland scored another 10.

It was their first playoff win over New Zealand in 11 games. Ireland was beaten 19-26 by Argentina in the semifinals.

New Zealand played off for fifth place and beat home team South Africa 31-7. McGarvey-Black and Vai scored to give the All Blacks Sevens a 10-0 lead at halftime before Vai (10th), Sione Molia (13th) and Akuila Rokolisoa (16th) completed the win.

Argentina won the final by beating Australia 45-12. Australia earlier ended South Africa's hopes with a 28-0 win in the quarterfinals.

The All Blacks Sevens are fourth in the standings with 28 points. Argentina is first with 38 points, South Africa and Fiji have 30 points each in second and third. Ireland and Australia are fifth and sixth on 26 points, respectively.

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