It’s a blackwash: New Zealand women and men do the double at Sydney Sevens

MATT KING/GETTY IMAGES The New Zealand men celebrate their victory at the Sydney Sevens at Allianz Stadium on Sunday night.

Anything the New Zealand rugby sevens women can do, well, the Kiwi men can manage just as impressively.

That was the case at least in the Sydney leg of the world series at Allianz Stadium on Sunday night as the Black Ferns women and New Zealand men made it a memorable Kiwi double with dominant final performances.

Not long after the Ferns had thumped France 35-0 to lift a third straight Sydney title and continue their dominance at the global level of the abbreviated game, Sam Dickson and the All Blacks Sevens men steamrolled South Africa 38-0 to claim their first championship of the season and third triumph at this event all told.

They were remarkably similar performances, too, with both teams dominating their deciding contests with a mixture of physicality up front and scintillating skills and speed out wide.

The New Zealand women continued their red-hot form with a suffocating five-try effort against the French to grab a third title for the season and second on the trot after their home triumph in Hamilton last weekend.

The Black Ferns women hoovered up a 30th title at this level, which also handed them a commanding grip on the women’s series, just four tournaments in.

The New Zealanders had won in Cape Town, finished runnersup in Dubai and then thrashed the United States in the Hamilton final last weekend.

The Ferns ran in three first-half tries to take an iron grip on the final with a 21-0 lead at the break.The impressive Tenika Willison, off Shiray Kaka, opened the scoring, and flying wing Jazmin Felix-Hotham added a brace before the intermission to complete a dominant opening spell.

The New Zealand women haven’t won 30 world series finals now for nothing, and they were not about to let the French back into the contest in the second spell, with Willison adding her second and the evergreen Portia Woodman-Wickliffe climbing off the pine to extend the advantage to 35-0. From there the women in black closed it out comfortably.

Jorja Miller had been particularly outstanding for the victors, with her workrate, playmaking and creativity playing a big part in the runaway result.

The Kiwi men were equally as dominant as they ran in six tries to leave an outmatched Blitzboks outfit in their dust. Roderick Solo (of course, via an individual effort), Joe Webber and Sam Dickson all crossed to give the men in black a 17-0 halftime advantage, and after the break Akuila Rokolisoa, Amanaki Nicole and Ngarohi McGarvey-Black dotted down to complete the thumping.

Earlier both New Zealand teams booked their places in the finals with convincing semifinal displays. The men easily beat France 36-5 in their semi, while the women thumped Ireland 41-0 to book their spot in the showcase game.

South Africa rolled Fiji 31-12 to book their spot in the men’s final while France progressed to the women’s decider after defeating the United States 20-7..

The New Zealand men demolished France in the first half, leading 31-0 at halftime. Tough defence, combined with sublime finishing skills from Akuila Rokolisoa and Leroy Carter, who scored three and two tries each, respectively, rocked the French in the opening stanza.

And the French had few answers to the might of the men in the black in the second spell.

This was a convincing way for the New Zealanders to build-up for the final, after they were bitterly disappointed to lose to Argentina in the World Series final in Hamilton the previous weekend.

If the New Zealand women can retain their form and send the French packing in their final it will be their second consecutive title win on the circuit after winning the tournament in Hamilton.

Captain Sarah Hirini offered the Irish a taste of her team’s intent with the ball by scoring the first try of the match; having produced a powerful fend to shunt-off an opponent, Hirini accelerated 40m downfield for a fine try.

Strike weapon Stacey Fluhler then loaded more misery on the women in green with another five-pointer, which gave the New Zealanders a 10-0 lead, and when Shiray Kaka took-off on a blistering run down the left-hand flank after the halftime hooter it enabled the Black Ferns to go into the break with a big 17-0 lead.

When Tyler Nathan-Wong scored within seconds after the restart it became clear Ireland’s hopes of advancing to the big showdown were gone, as the New Zealanders dominated the breakdown and used their creativity and quick ball movement to punish their opponents.

Kaka, especially, had a memorable outing, scoring three tries.

On Saturday night the Black Ferns defeated Japan 33-0 in their quarterfinal. Despite having Fluhler yellow-carded for taking a player out in the air early in the first half, the Black Ferns scored tries through Michaela Blyde, Jorja Miller and a returning Fluhler to set the platform for the victory.

Miller got her second in the second half before veteran Portia Woodman-Wickliffe came off the bench to emphasise the title-favourites’ dominance.


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