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‘More pressure will be on…’: All Blacks Sevens ready for SVNS Grand Final

By Finn Morton
New Zealand players celebrate with the trophy after defeating Ireland in the men's cup final during day three of the HSBC SVNS Singapore at the National Stadium on May 05, 2024 in Singapore. (Photo by Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images)

After leading the All Blacks Sevens to Cup final glory in Hong Kong China and Singapore, New Zealand captain Dylan Collier has pinned “more pressure” on League winners Argentina ahead of a historic SVNS Series Grand Final event in Madrid.


Argentina were crowned League champions for the first time after beating South Africa in a memorable fifth-place playoff at Singapore’s National Stadium earlier this month. Players including veteran Gaston Revol were visibly emotional at full-time.

Tone Ng Shiu later told this website that SVNS Singapore champions the All Blacks Sevens would “acknowledge” Los Pumas Sevens for their historic achievement. But with one more event left in the 2023/24 season, it’s still all to play for.

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At the end of the new-look SVNS Series season, the top eight teams in men’s and women’s sevens will battle it out for overall glory at Madrid’s Estadio Civitas Metropolitano. Overall Series glory is up for grabs for anyone who’s good enough to take it.

While the All Blacks Sevens are coming off Cup final triumphs in Hong Kong China and Singapore, the Kiwis are ready to just play their game under a usual sense of pressure when they take the field in Madrid.

“There’s always pressure on us. When you wear the black jersey, I think, you’re demanded to win, especially from our home country,” Collier told RugbyPass at the Royal Palace of Madrid.

“We’ve won the last two but I think more pressure will be on Argentina because obviously they’ve won a (League) series before getting to this point.


“For us, we’re just building. Just trying to build every tournament, trying to get better every tournament.

“Our main goal is the Olympics, it’s to win that so this is just another step.

“If we can, and obviously we’re going to try and win this tournament, it’s just going to instil a lot more confidence and build a lot more momentum for us heading into that Olympic tournament.”

Codemeru ‘Cody’ Vai, Tone Ng Shiu and Andrew Knewstubb have been especially impressive in New Zealand’s run to Cup final glory at the two most recent SVNS Series events. Vai and Ng Shiu have scored tries while Knewstubb has resumed his role as a playmaker.

There’s a lot to like about this improving All Blacks Sevens outfit, and maybe even more so now they’ve welcomed back some genuine greats of the game. Former captain Sam Dickson and veteran Joe Webber are both back in the mix for Madrid.


In a team that still boats plenty of firepower, including the likes of World Rugby Player of the Year nominees Leroy Carter and Akuila Rokolisoa, the invaluable inclusion of returning experienced players is set to come as a welcomed boost.

“We’re forced to make a few changes over some injuries and that but it’s awesome that some of our older by shav got back from injury as well themselves and have given themselves a chance again to perform at this level,” Collier explained.

“For them, it’ll be exciting as well to be able to come to a new place and try and stamp their mark on our team again.

“We’ve got (Sam Dickson), Joe Webber in there as well.. I’m really looking forward to it and (I’m) looking forward to what they’re going to bring individually.

“Just to add that energy back into our team is going to be awesome.”

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Turlough 14 minutes ago
'Let them keep talking' - Mike Catt claps back over Bok remarks

“You want that – not hatred – but whatever it is that stirs it all up. It’s good.” Agree with this. If you can put a common motivating idea in all your players heads during a game it can produce a real Team perfromance. Erasmus is pretty expert at this. It is quite clear that the comments by Etzebeth, Allende and others were not coincidence and were actioned to create animoisty before the series in order to galvanise the South African mind set. While I understand it, I don’t like it. They result in unnessary vitriol between supporters and for what? I don’t think any of the SA players seriously believe any of these claims and with Ireland ignoring them Erasmus won’t get the escalation he seeks. The vitriol shown by some SA and indeed NZ supporters is extremely weird for NH supporters (OK, maybe England have felt it) but it just feels very odd over a sport. Ireland were more or less sh1t for the first 100 years of their rugby, they have improved significantly in the last 25 to be in a position around now (it may not last) to go into a match with the big guns with a real shot of winning. The reaction to this from some SH supporters has been bizarre with conspiracy theories of ‘Arrogance’ fueling abuse from supporters and even NZ players to Irish crowds during the world cup. I love International rugby and the comraderie between supporters. I genuinely dread and dislike the atmosphere around games with the southern giants. They take this very personally. NH teams: play them, try and beat them, enjoy the craic with their players and supporters and wish them well. SH teams wish them well and they call you arrogant in the press months later. Its just a matter of try and beat them and then good riddance til the next time.

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