Tyla Nathan-Wong (Photo credit: Mike Lee - KLC fotos for World Rugby)
It’s been a good start for both mens and womens Sevens sides at the Hamilton leg of the World Series. The Black Ferns Sevens have trounced China 40-7 and England by the same score, while the All Blacks Sevens destroyed Wales 47-0.
For the women, it is their first time playing an official World Series tournament on home soil, which Tyla Nathan-Wong said was very special.
“After nine long years, to run out on our home turf, to play in front of our friends and family. It was a good win but we’ve still got a few things to work on.”
Nathan-Wong could be accused of being pretty harsh on herself and her team as they swept aside a much improved Chinese outfit by a big margin. Tries by Michaela Blyde and Stacey Fluhler (nee Waaka) got them off to a fast start, then Nathan-Wong herself scored on the stroke of halftime to make it a 21-0 lead.
Fluhler got her second after the break, then Theresa Fitzpatrick and Gayle Broughton completed the rout to get the women off to the perfect start.
Later, the All Blacks Sevens found themselves up 21-0 before their Welsh opponents had even touched the ball. Local boy Tim Mikkelson got a double from long range while Regan Ware showed plenty of power to get over as well.
Joe Webber, Scott Curry, Kurt Baker and Vilimoni Koroi got in on the action as well as the second half rolled on, opening up an impressive afternoon for the home sides.
Webber said that he was too tired in the hot Hamilton sun to notice the lead they’d established.
“To be honest I don’t really look at the scoreboard” he said post match.
“I’m just trying to get my breath back but it’s huge for the confidence.”
The pool matches in the Hamilton tournament have an extra edge this year, as the inclusion of the women’s tournament has meant that there are no quarter finals. It’s made very game essentially a must win, meaning that the All Blacks Sevens will have to be on their game later tonight when they play the powerful USA.