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History of the Australian Sevens tournament

History of the Australian Sevens tournament

All BlacksJanuary 20, 2024

The third leg of the 2023/24 HSBC SVNS series will be held at Optus Stadium in Perth from January 26-28.

Hosts Australia caught fire in the first women’s events of the series winning the Cup finals in Dubai and Cape Town.

On the men’s side of the draw South Africa was victorious in Dubai with Argentina prevailing over Australia in Cape Town.

The All Blacks Sevens were fifth in Cape Town and third in Dubai. The Black Ferns Sevens will be looking to go one step better after second and third place finishes respectively.

The All Blacks Sevens are drawn in Pool C beside Fiji, France, and Samoa. The Black Ferns Sevens are paired with Japan, the USA, and Ireland.

The Australian Sevens will be held in Perth for the first time having previously been hosted in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and on the Gold Coast.

History suggests New Zealand should fear well across the Tasman. The Black Ferns Sevens are three times reigning championships while only Fiji (six titles) have been more successful than the All Black Sevens (five titles) in the World Series era.        

1986

The first incarnation of an Australian Sevens tournament was at Concord Oval in Sydney as part of Australia’s Bicentennial celebrations in 1986.

An international invitational tournament was won by New Zealand who defeated Australia 32-0 in the final after earlier wins against Tonga (22-0), USA (28-0), Fiji (16-0) and Argentina (24-4).

The New Zealand team featured All Blacks Frano Botica, Mike Clamp, Terry Wright, Sir Wayne Smith (Captain), David Kirk, Sir Wayne Shelford, Mark Brooke-Cowden and Zinzan Brooke.

The invitational tournament was played four times with New Zealand winning three titles.

2011: All Blacks Sevens World Series Breakthrough

Australia became an official World Series tournament in 2000. New Zealand had to wait until 2011 in Adelaide to capture glory.

In the final, New Zealand edged Fiji 28-20 with current All Blacks Sevens coach Tomasi Cama scoring two tries and kicking four conversions. Lote Raikabula and future All Black Frank Halai also scored tries.

Present All Black Sevens veterans Tim Mikkelson and Scott Curry featured as rookies.

2016: Ioane Brothers Catch Fire

Having never led in the final, Rieko Ioane scored his hat-trick with the last play of the match to give New Zealand a 27-24 victory over Australia in front of a sold-out Allianz Stadium crowd of 37,095.

Ioane was named player of the tournament for his seven tries but it was his older brother Akira, who was named Man of the Match after a damaging performance which included setting up Rieko’s first try with a trademark burst down the sideline,

In the semi-finals, New Zealand beat Fiji 14-12, with Akira scoring one of the tries of the tournament.

Black Ferns Sevens Three-Peat

Australia joined the women’s World Series schedule in 2017. Canada won the first tournament defeating the USA 21-17 in the final with New Zealand third.

In 2018, the Black Ferns Sevens suffered their largest ever Cup final defeat, going down 31-0 by Australia. Revenge is a dish best served cold and New Zealand has won 18 matches in a row since.

Australia was thrashed 34-10 in the 2019 final at the Sydney Showgrounds. Michaela Blyde (3) and Stacey Waaka (2) scored tries.

Last year at the Sydney Football Stadium, the Black Ferns blanked France 35-0 in the final. Jazmin Felix-Hotham and Tenika Willison each completed doubles after eight minutes.

Jorja Miller was named player of the final and was later awarded World Rugby Breakthrough Sevens Player of the Year at just 18 years old.

All Blacks Sevens Whitewash

The All Blacks Sevens' best performance in their 2022-23 HSBC World Series triumph was thrashing South Africa 38-0 in the Cup final in Sydney. Captain Sam Dickson remarked afterward.

"Immensely (proud of this group). We've played three finals in a row and missed out on two so it's really pleasing for the boys to stick to it and put in a polished performance. We just wanted to stick to our game-plan and don't get individual, bring the heat in around physicality, and keep calm, cool and collected and I think we did that really well.”

Roderick Solo crossed for the first of six tries after fooling his marker with quick feet but unfortunately couldn't last the distance, having injured a leg in the semifinal win.

It mattered little. Joe Webber, named player of the match, scored off the first scrum play, and then skipper Dickson repeated the feat just before halftime.

Akuila Rokolisoa had a try ruled out, but from the resulting scrum, he kicked the ball ahead and won the race for loose possession.

Amanaki Nicole and Ngarohi McGarvey-Black, who had also had a try ruled out, each scored tries to round out the win.

Remarkably, the margin of victory wasn’t the largest against South Africa in a Cup final. That happened in 2000 in Paris when New Zealand beat the Blitzboks 69-10.  

Kicking off 2024 in ‘Straya! ✈️🦘

See you soon, Perth. #AllBlacks7s | #BlackFerns7s | #PERSVNS pic.twitter.com/wSnxSRe3S6

— NZ Sevens (@nz_sevens) January 18, 2024

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