Black Ferns Sevens wins the HSBC Sydney Sevens

World Rugby

New Zealand continue to write new chapters in the history of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series after beating Canada 33-7 in the final to become the first to successfully defend the HSBC Sydney Sevens title.

The title is their fourth in a row on the 2020 series after also lifting the silverware in Dubai, Cape Town and on home soil in Hamilton last weekend, taking their total to an incredible 26 titles in 42 series events.

New Zealand have now won 19 matches in a row since losing to France in the pool stages of the Glendale season opener last October, their 250th match in series history also seeing them extend their perfect record against Canada in Cup finals to eight matches.

Canada have only tasted victory once now in 21 meetings with the Black Ferns Sevens – four years ago in Sao Paulo – but they seemed set to open the scoring at Bankwest Stadium when Bianca Farella raced clear, only for Michaela Blyde to chase her down and earn a penalty.HSBC Player of the Final Tyla Nathan-Wong, who in the semi-final had become only the second player to score 1,000 series points, instead went under under the posts to give herself an easy conversion for a 7-0 lead.

The lead lasted barely a minute, though, with Charity Williams cutting between Sarah Hirini and Stacey Fluhler to race through and tie the scores. It appeared that would be the last score of the first half but in added time Gayle Broughton’s change of direction caught Canada out, giving her an easy run-in.

Canada simply couldn’t find a way through the black wall in the second half of a match played in wet conditions, Niall Williams increasing the lead before Kelly Brazier’s trademark step created the space for Theresa Fitzpatrick to make certain of victory.

It was left to Alena Saili to put the gloss on the victory – their third over Canada in Cup finals this season after Dubai and Hamilton – that increases the Black Ferns Sevens’ advantage at the top of the standings to 16 points over Australia and Canada with three rounds to play.

Hirini said: “We’ve been working really hard to go back-to-back and to do it twice this season is just massive. I’m so happy right now. I can’t believe we made our debut last weekend [at home] and then winning this tournament – I’m speechless.

“Canada got off to a good start and are a quality team – it’s pretty tough to try and tackle those girls. I’m just so proud of our efforts, obviously every person who comes into our team thrives like Alena Saili at the end there who scored that thriller of a try.”

New Zealand now have 96 points as the only team to medal in all five rounds, with Australia and Canada on 80 points. France sit a further 10 points behind in fourth having leapfrogged USA after they could only finish eighth in Sydney.

The next tournament on the women’s series will be the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens on 3-5 April where the women’s competition will be played for the first time in series history alongside the men’s.

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