Mixed fortunes for New Zealand teams in Perth
New Zealand's Black Ferns Sevens eased into the HSBC World SVNS tournament in Perth with wins over Japan and Ireland on the first day on Friday, while the All Blacks Sevens needed a golden point win over Samoa to keep their quarterfinal hopes alive.
It was a day of surprises, not least for Australia's women, who suffered their first Sevens loss to Great Britain and their first of the season, going down 12-19.
The All Blacks Sevens stumbled at their first hurdle, losing 17-33 to France. Thanks to a first-half hat-trick of tries to Theo Former, to which New Zealand could only respond with a try to Leroy Carter, France led 19-5 at halftime.
Jordan Sepho extended the lead with another try after the break. Tim Mikkelson scored midway through the half, but Paulin Riva's 14th-minute try extinguished the New Zealanders' chances despite Cody Vai scoring a consolation try before the end.
They then faced Samoa, who had pushed Fiji hard to golden point time in their earlier game before losing 7-14. Mikkelson crossed first after a scoreless first half, with Carter scoring a minute later.
But Samoa scored two tries in three minutes through Uaina Tui Stone and Malakesi Masefau to force the game to extra time. It took another five minutes before Carter rounded a defender, drew the tackle, and fed Regan Ware, who went around a defender to secure the winner finally.
However, the All Blacks Sevens still need to beat Fiji or gain a bonus point and hope that Samoa beats France to stay in the race for a quarterfinal place.
The Black Ferns Sevens can breathe a little easier, beating Japan 29-5 and Ireland 21-14.
However, they had to subdue a lively Japan side who held them to 7-5 at halftime. Jazmin Felix Hotham scored the opening try in the second minute, but Michiyo Suda scored a minute later for Japan.
But in the second half, a strong star saw Waaka, Michaela Blyde and Miller post three tries in three minutes, with Portia Woodman-Wickliffe 's try rounding out the win in the 14th minute.
In their second game, Amee Leigh Murphy Crowe opened the scoring for Ireland, but Stacey Waaka first responded with the Black Ferns before Jorja Miller struck back with tries on either side of halftime. Ireland scored a late try to claim a bonus point.
The Black Ferns Sevens final game is against the USA, who lost to Ireland 14-19.
Click HERE for the day two schedule at the HSBC Perth SVNS.