All Blacks Sevens and Samoa join together in prayer

By Te Ao - Māori News
Photo / Mike Lee (KLC fotos for World Rugby)

While the All Blacks Sevens had another successful day in the Dubai World Sevens Series tournament, it will be remembered for a powerful moment of solidarity. Before kickoff in their game against Samoa, both teams formed a circle and took a knee to pray for the victims of the Samoan measles epidemic that has now claimed over 60 lives.

The Samoan team also wore black armbands to honour the lives taken, the vast majority of whom are children.

Samoa and New Zealand join together in solidarity ahead of their match in Dubai, to pay tribute to the victims of the measles outbreak in Samoa

The All Blacks Sevens went on to win the game 40-7 and maintain an unbeaten record in pool play. Earlier in the day, they comfortably beat Canada 31-7 with Sales Rayasi scoring a hat trick.

Later in the day, Joe Perez then sliced through the defence to give Samoa the perfect start, but the All Blacks Sevens came storming back with Andrew Knewstubb scoring two of their six unanswered tries in the win. The All Blacks Sevens now move on to play the USA in the quarterfinals, however, the big shock of the tournament was Fiji losing to Argentina and missing out on the quarter-finals for the first time in the series’ 21 year history.

Over on the women’s side of the draw, the Black Ferns Sevens suffered a shock loss to France, losing 19-14. 

The French, who beat the Black Ferns for the first time in another pool decider in Kitakyushu to end their record 38-match unbeaten run on the series back in April, went ahead for the second time in the game with tries from Séraphine Okemba and Joanna Grisez before their defence held firm to close out the win to top Pool C. Earlier, the Black Ferns took care of England 40-12, knocking them out of the tournament.

Grassineau with all the determination. This was a phenomenal try saving tackle from @FranceRugby's Camille Grassineau.#Dubai7s

The result means the Black Ferns will play Fiji in their quarter-final, putting them back on a collision course with the French of both teams make the final.