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Madrid Grand Final next: SVNS champions will be crowned as top 8s locked in

By Finn Morton
SVNS League winners Argentina and New Zealand celebrate with their respective trophies 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)

Argentina’s Gaston Revol struggled for words on Sunday afternoon. Los Pumas Sevens had just beaten South Africa in a thrilling fifth-place playoff which was enough to see them crowned SVNS Series League winners for the first time ever.

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Playmaker Tobias Wade scored what ended up being the title-winning try late in the second half at Singapore’s National Stadium, but the regular season crown wasn’t theirs until Matteo Graziano won a penalty at the breakdown.

Thousands in attendance either cheered, groaned or sat stunned in silence as Los Pumas Sevens completed a miraculous comeback. To win their maiden League title is a momentous achievement for Argentina Sevens.

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But there’s more to play for this season.

The top eight teams in the women’s and men’s competitions will contest for HSBC SVNS Series championship glory at the upcoming Grand Final event in Madrid from May 31 to June 2.

Argentina will be eager to back up their League title on the Series final stop, and the same goes for women’s League title-holders New Zealand.

The Black Ferns Sevens recovered from a slow start in Dubai, Cape Town and Perth to win four Cup finals on the bounce. But they were still equal on 106 competition points with arch-rivals Australia which is what made Sunday’s final even more interesting.

With the neighbouring nations both qualifying, whoever won the decider would get to lift two trophies on the same night. On the back of a Jorja Miller masterclass, the Kiwis ended up winning 31-21.

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“It definitely feels pretty good. We always want to go to battle with the Aussies in the final,” Player of the Final Jorja Miller told RugbyPass.

“To go out there, get the win, have a pretty decent performance, I’m pretty happy.

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“To go into Madrid with confidence and knowing that we’ve built from the start of the season off the back of LA, Vancouver into here,” she added.

“We’re gonna go home, put some work in and hopefully bring it out in Madrid.”

Finalists New Zealand and Australia had already booked their place in the upcoming Grand Final before taking the field in Singapore. The same could be said for France, USA, Canada, Fiji and Ireland.

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Great Britain ended up claiming the one other spot in the Grand Final at the National Stadium but it didn’t come easy with Japan coming heartbreakingly close to a semi-final berth which would’ve kept the door open.

The British beat Brazil in pool play which went a long way to securing their spot in Madrid, and even though they lost to eventual champions New Zealand in the quarter-finals, they still did enough to qualify.

“We knew this tournament was important but we took each game (by game) and Brazil was our main focus coming in,” Great Britain’s Isla Norman-Bell told this website following the win over Brazil.

“We put out a great performance and we’re really happy with that.

“We can’t control what else has happened throughout so we’ve just got to move on to the next game and hopefully get as many points as possible.

“We were all really disappointed with how yesterday had gone but we knew that today was a new opportunity and we’re jut really excited,” she added.

“We knew that we’d put in the work behind the scenes and we had analysed Brazil so we knew exactly what we were going to do coming into this game.

“I think that’s all we could be worried about. We did that on the pitch and we got a great score from that.”

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Japan put up a brave fight. While a quarter-final win still wouldn’t have been enough to secure their spot in the GF, it would’ve kept their once-unlikely hopes alive. But the Japanese can still take plenty of positive into the play-off tournament in Madrid.

The bottom four teams on the SVNS Series will play the tour four sides from the division two Challenger Series to determine which quartet of teams earn core Series status for the 2024/25 season.

Canada, Samoa, Spain and the USA are the four men’s teams set for the play-off. The USA Eagles appeared destined for the Series’ finale but Great Britain’s incredible run to a third-place finish in Singapore was enough to see them jump into the top eight.

“Just because we don’t get together maybe as much as other teams, we’re not a team that makes excuses for performances if we don’t hit the mark,” Great Britain’s Charlton Kerr told RugbyPass after the semi-final defeat to Ireland in golden point.

“I think every game is the same focus for us now – every game is a must-win for us. I think we’ve had that opportunity from the start of the season to when I joined as well midway through the season.

“We haven’t been getting it right all the time at set-piece, bits of detail, but you’re not going to get it right all the time. The attitude and effort is always there for us and that’s what we say when we get back into the changeroom.

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“The attitude and effort is a non-negotiable for us and as long as we keep sticking to that the set-piece and the technical bits will come.”

While Argentina are rightfully the League winners, New Zealand may be the team to beat in the men’s competition after taking out back-to-back Cup finals on the Series. The All Blacks Sevens took out the title in Hong Kong China and backed that up in Singapore.

The men in black came up against the Irish in the Singapore final – the very team who had knocked Argentina out in the quarter-finals. Ireland were also searching for what would’ve been their first-ever Cup final win on the Series.

But it wasn’t to be.

Leroy Carter, Fehi Fineanganofo and Dylan Collier all got on the scoresheet as the All Blacks Sevens held on for a tense 17-14 win in front of a loud crowd.

“Me and my mate Andrew Knewstubb, we’re sick of sitting home and watching all the boys win (while injured) so when we came back we made it a goal for ourselves to make sure that we didn’t do all that hard work for nothing,” New Zealand’s Tone Ng Shiu told RugbyPass.

“It’s good to be winning and to be with the boys. It’s so good.

“We just focus on ourselves, you know? The here and now,” he continued.

“We won Singapore. Obviously, we’ll acknowledge (League winners Argentina) because they’ve been the most consistent in the Series but we’re just enjoying the moment.”

Three different teams lifted trophies at Singapore’s National Stadium on Sunday. That sets the stage for a mammoth Grand Final in Madrid in just a few weeks.

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