Blackout: Sevens titles for both All Blacks and Black Ferns Sevens

By Jamie Wall
New Zealand players perform the haka after the Cup final win on day two of the HSBC New Zealand Sevens 2020.  Photo credit / Mike Lee (KLC fotos for World Rugby)

It is Sevens Heaven tonight in Kirikiriroa, as both the New Zealand men’s and women’s sides claimed victory in their respective cup finals of the World Sevens Series.

Spine tingling HAKA to celebrate winning the #NZSevens for the first time. @BlackFerns #HSBC7s

In a memorable dual final at FMG Stadium Waikato, the Black Ferns defeated Canada 24-7 before the All Blacks Sevens knocked over France 27-5. It capped off a dominant weekend, with both sides showing excellent form in their lead up games.

In the women’s, Canada had opened the scoring through Brittany Benn in the fifth minute despite the high tackle of Ruby Tui, which saw the World Rugby Women's Sevens Player of the Year sent to the sin-bin for two minutes.

New Zealand’s Haka after winning the #NZSevens for the first time since 2016

New Zealand held firm in her absence and then with the clock deep into the red at the end of the first half they made the breakthrough, Stacey Fluhler (nee Waaka) being stopped short before Michaela Blyde went over from closer range than many of her tries this weekend.

Fluhler won the restart and the ball was quickly worked along the line to Blyde, who stepped her way through the Canadian defence for her eighth of the tournament. Niall Williams' try with little more than two minutes to play pushed the Black Ferns Sevens out to 19-7 and all but secured the title.

However, there was still time for Fluhler to turn another restart take into New Zealand's fourth try of the title decider, and see her become the first player to score 10 tries in a series tournament since her fellow Black Ferns Sevens star Portia Woodman in Glendale in October 2018.

"This is massive. To everyone who has supported us over the last couple of days, thank you very much. We love all of our fans here in New Zealand," captain Sarah Hirini said.

"It was the heart and grit that got us over the line, we’ve been training for this for so long to be playing in New Zealand. Canada are amazing but the way that the girls fought to get the ball back in, obviously we’ve got some speedsters to score us some tries as well."

In the men’s final, the All Blacks Sevens had a captain’s knock from Scott Curry, who scored a hat trick. He got his first early in the game, however, France hit back through Tavite Veredamu.

Regan Ware then took advantage of a French player in the sin bin to put the All Blacks Sevens up 12-5 at halftime. After the break, it was all one-way traffic as Ware got his second and Curry tacked on two more as time expired to round out a comfortable win.

"We talked about it at the start of the week, we wanted to win this tournament and how hard it was going to be to do it with no quarter-finals. To get the job done was just awesome," co-captain Tim Mikkelson said.

"It took all 12 of us to win all the games here and I think that's a strength of this group. It doesn't matter who comes off the bench, everyone brings impact and we saw that late at the end of the games.”

The event saw a crowd over 20,000 attend the second day, with temperatures reaching into the 30s. Police reported little trouble.