More glory for Black Ferns, redemption for All Blacks in Sydney sevens

Sun, Jan 29
Portia Woodman-Wickliffe runs in for her try against France in the final of the Sydney sevens.

The Black Ferns sevens and All Blacks sevens teams have destroyed their opponents in their world series cup finals in Sydney.

The New Zealand women began by thrashing France 35-0 to back up their cup final win in Hamilton last weekend and the men made up for their heartbreaking defeat to Argentina at Waikato Stadium to dominate South Africa 36-0.

Both victories were built on unbreakable defences. In fact, the Black Ferns didn’t concede a point in the three knockout matches after big wins over Japan and Ireland in the quarter-final and semifinal respectively.

The Black Ferns were up 21-0 at halftime against France, Tenika Willison opening the scoring, with Jazmin Felix-Hotham scoring a double.

After the break, Tenika Willison was over from a break by teenager Jorja Miller, named player of the final, with Portia Woodman-Wickliffe sealing it with a five-pointer.

Afterwards, skipper Sarah Hirini sent “aroha” to the people of Auckland dealing with the catastrophic floods.

The men’s match was perhaps even more one-sided, the All Blacks sevens using their size and aggression to completely dominate South Africa in the set piece and at the breakdown.

The Kiwis had lost four of their last five cup finals, but not this time.

Roderick Solo put them ahead with a brilliant early converted try during which he appeared to aggravate a leg injury suffered in the semifinal win over France.

Joe Webber is congratulated after scoring for New Zealand against South Africa in the Sydney cup final.

Then it was Joe Webber’s turn – over from an attacking scrum with 90 seconds to go in first half, with Sam Dickson over in the corner more than a minute after the halftime siren for a 17-0 halftime lead.

A tighthead for New Zealand set the tone for the second half and while Akuila Rokolisoa dropped a pass with the line open in front of him, he redeemed himself from the resulting scrum by stealing ahead of South African halfback and kicking the ball through for a try.

After winning the re-start, Amanaki Nicole was over, with a little help from Payton Spencer, with Ngarohi McGarvey-Black scoring from a Webber kick through.

It was the first time New Zealand have held South Africa scoreless in any game in nine years.

“Our main goal was to qualify for the Olympics and win the world series and this is an absolute bonus,” skipper Dickson said.

Webber, named player of the final, added: “We pride ourselves on our defence so to hold South Africa to nil is pretty impressive.

“We’ve been so close, and just off having a complete performance, it’s unreal tonight.”

The victories mean New Zealand extended their series leads in both competitions.


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