It was a weekend of mixed emotions for the All Black Sevens who secured a place in next year’s Olympic Games, then were controversially dumped out of the latest tournament in London.
The New Zealand team were beaten 19-14 in their quarter-final by France, who were awarded a penalty try near the end of the match. It came after Joe Webber attempted to intercept a pass, but he failed to gather the ball. While it clearly looked to have gone backwards towards Webber’s goal-line, it was ruled a deliberate knockdown and the French were awarded a penalty try to give them the win on the last play of the game.
The All Blacks Sevens eventually finished fifth, however, their quarter-final qualification means they can now start preparing for next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo. The motivation will be high for the New Zealand men’s side who returned home without a medal from the Rio Games in 2016.
The London leg of the World Sevens Series was eventually won by Fiji, who smashed Australia in the cup final by 43-7. They now take a slim competition lead into the last event next weekend in Paris, on 164 points ahead of the USA on 162. The highest that the All Black Sevens can now finish in the series is third, as they trail back on 143.