New Zealand pass through pool play unbeaten

New Zealand men and women have completed the Hamilton Sevens unbeaten, both capturing their respective titles at their home tournament.

For the Black Ferns, victory represented success at the first official world-series event form women in New Zealand.

They secured their semi-final spot with a 38-21 win over Fiji in their final pool game on Sunday morning, with Stacey Fluhler scoring a try hat-trick and Michaela Blyde a double.

Late in their semi, they trailled France, and needed tries from Fluhler and Kelly Brazier, both converted, to emerge 19-7 winners. 

In the final, they were similarly tested by Canada, losing Fluhler temporarily to a yellow card and conceding the opening try to the North Americans. 

New Zealand answered with four unanswered tries, including two to flyer Michaela Blyde, and ran away to a 24-7 win - their third series victory in a row to open a  12-point lead over Australian atop the series rankings.

Meanwhile, the All Blacks Sevens were untroubled to beat Scotland 38-12 in their final pool fixture, with veteran Tim Mikkelson crossing for two tries.

In the semis, they trailled Australia 14-5 at halftime, but also produced late tries to Regan Ware and Dylan Collier, while holding their opponents scoreless down the stretch to prevail 17-14.

They were always ahead in the final, taking advantage of poor discipline from their French opponents. Twice France lost players to yellow cards and on both occasions, the All Blacks punished them with tries.

Captain Scott Curry scored a hat-trick in the 27-5 result, building a 15-point lead on South Africa and France on the world series table.

Entering this tournament, the South Africans shared that top spot, but they and defending champions Fiji both stumbled to shock losses in their pools, and eventually played off for ninth, with the Pacific Islanders winning.

England and Kenya both beat the 'Blitz Boks', while Argentina's win over the Fijians relegated them to third in their group on points-difference countback.

The world series continues in Sydney next week, with the All Blacks and Black Ferns both hoping to defend their titles from 2019.


Photo NZ Global News