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Black Ferns Sevens reign supreme in Vancouver

Black Ferns Sevens reign supreme in Vancouver

All BlacksFebruary 27, 2024

The Black Ferns and All Blacks Sevens achieved their best results of the 2023-24 SVNS season in Vancouver.

The Black Ferns Sevens successfully defended the title thrashing France 35-19 in the cup final. It was the Black Ferns first victory in three tournaments. 

The All Blacks Sevens made the cup final and led 12-0 in three minutes. Unfortunately, they were overrun 36-12 by Argentina. The powerful Pumas have won three tournaments and 15 matches in a row.

Black Ferns Sevens

The Black Ferns Sevens won their 34th Cup final with a resounding 35-19 victory over France. 

It was the Black Ferns Sevens most experienced players who delivered when it counted. Portia Woodman-Wickliffe bagged a hat-trick in the final and Michaela Blyde scored at least a single try in every game, including a sprint from halfway in the decider. 

It was Jorja Miller who was the most outstanding individual though. She was tigerish on defense and when she produced a left foot step that would prize open Fort Knox to dash clear the Black Ferns Sevens always looked likely winners when leading 19-7 at halftime. 

Woodman-Wickliffe combined tough tackling with her vintage running game. Her third try was a classic, standing up her startled opposite on the outside. The Black Ferns Sevens bench were big contributors all weekend, especially Jazmine Flex-Hotham and Manaia Nuku. 

Anne-Cécile Ciofani, Valentine Lothoz and Chloé Pelle scored tries for France.

In their 50th Cup semi-final (the first team in SVNS history to achieve the feat) the Black Ferns battled past Canada 15-7. 

The Black Ferns started ominously and jumped out to a 10-0 lead. Tyler King smashed a hesitant Canadian receiver inside the 22. The Black Ferns flooded the ruck and skipper Risi Pouri-Lane snaffled a turnover and created a try for Michael Blyde; a trademark finish in the left corner.

Championing when it matters! 🏆

Portia Woodman-Wickliffe is the @HSBC_Sport Player of the Final! 👏#HSBCSVNS | #HSBCSVNSPER pic.twitter.com/YScYi0nKJ8

— HSBC SVNS (@SVNSSeries) February 26, 2024

Moments later, Blyde appeared on the right edge and cast aside the last defender to complete an expansive Black Ferns Sevens attack. 

Canada struck back after the halftime siren when Tenika Willison was held up centimetres from their goal line. An inspirational tackle and turnover was made by Charity Williams who had earlier caught Jorja Miller. From a penalty tap, Krissy Scurfield broke and sprinted 80 metres to shut the gap to 10-7 at the break.

Miller was in inspired form and from the restart sliced and dummied through the Canadian defence in another gut-busting burst. This time the Black Ferns support was quicker and Portia Woodman-Wickliffe had an easy walk-in. 

Wayward goal-kicking would ensure Canada remained with a sniff. With four minutes remaining a fumble by the Black Ferns Sevens inside the 22 gave the hosts a big chance. From a scrum Canada was able to break down the blindside but Piper Logan was bundled over the sideline by Manaia Nuku to relieve the threat.

The Black Ferns Sevens gain ground on series leaders Australia who were beaten 21-19 by France in their semi-final. Dominique du Toit had a chance to tie the scores with the last conversion of the game but missed a difficult attempt on the right sideline about 30 metres out. Maddison Levi had strode 60 metres with an epic last-play burst. Earlier, Anne-Cécile Ciofani had broken a 14-14 stalemate with four minutes left. She was World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year in 2021.

That’s how you win a final! 🇳🇿@NZ_Sevens are back-to-back champions in Vancouver 🏆#HSBCSVNS | #HSBCSVNSVAN pic.twitter.com/uDCOpt49Kf

— HSBC SVNS (@SVNSSeries) February 26, 2024

All Blacks Sevens

The All Blacks Sevens made a dream start in the final against Argentina. Scott Curry won an early breakdown turnover. From the ensuing penalty tap, Joe Webber scored a try after Cody Vai held Pumas star Marcos Moneta at bay and delivered a quality offload. 

Things got even better for New Zealand from the restart. Webber retrieved a deflected kickoff and supplied a pass for an unmarked Brady Rush.

Moneta was the tournament's leading try scorer and when he deputised at halfback, he caught the defence napping and sprinted clear from halfway.

Luciano Gonzalez was named player of the final. His bullying runs often dented the black wall and his 131st SVNS try tied the scores at 12-12.

New Zealand lost composure, accuracy, and discipline in the second half. Argentina was polished, hungry and dominant. Matías Osadczuk scored three tries to take his SVNS tally to 114. 

In the semifinal, the All Blacks Sevens repelled a fast-finishing France 28-26. It was tick for tack in the first half with Cody Vai opening the scoring with a try for New Zealand only for the French to respond through Joseph Jefferson Lee.

Akuila Rokolisoa had the French grasping at air after a vintage stop-and-go in midfield but Jordan Sepho brought France within 14-12 at the interval.

After the restart, Rokolisoa burnt the defence again to score between the posts, before Scott Curry scored his 128th try with a rapid sprint to the corner flag. Rokolisoa nailed a pivotal sideline conversion.

French 15s halfback and superstar Antoine Dupont proved a sensational replacement. An immediate break would have resulted in a try but his 20-metre skip pass was split with the line wide open. Dupont then ripped the ball free in a tackle and sent Ryan Rebbadj the field's length. Jefferson Lee completed a double with the last play of the game.

France beat New Zealand 33-17 in Perth after ten successive defeats. New Zealand leads France 67-6 in all SVNS matches.

No opportunity is being missed here - quick reactions from Webber x Rush gives New Zealand their 2nd try 💨👐#HSBCSVNS | #HSBCSVNSVAN pic.twitter.com/roWaMJyaSQ

— HSBC SVNS (@SVNSSeries) February 26, 2024

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