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Argentina make history while New Zealand end SVNS drought in Vancouver

By Finn Morton
New Zealand and Argentina celebrate after winning SVNS Vancouver. Picture: World Rugby.

Argentina have continued to stamp their mark on the Men’s SVNS Series with their third win in four Cup finals, and New Zealand have claimed their first piece of silverware for the season.

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Pumas Sevens have been the form team of the 2023/24 season. After losing the final in Dubai to South Africa, Argentina have won three on the trot including a historic win Vancouver on Sunday.

For the first time in the history of sevens in Vancouver, the Argentinians have become the first men’s side to win the event three times in a row – backing up their efforts in 2022 and 2023.

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Sevens rivals New Zealand opened the scoring with tries to Joe Webber and Brady Rush inside the opening few minutes, but it was all Argentina from there who scored 36 unanswered points.

Matias Osadczuk ran riot with a rapid hat-trick at the death to seal Argentina’s stunning 36-12 triumph at BC Place Stadium, but their point-scoring blitz began with a familiar superstar.

Marcos Moneta, who was nominated for World Rugby’s Sevens Player of the Year in 2023, crossed in the fourth minute and once again played a starring role in the SVNS Vancouver win.

“We don’t know,” Moneta told RugbyPass. “Maybe there’s some magic in the air.

“Each time we come here we feel like we’re at home. When you win the first time, maybe the second time, (but) the third time you’re more motivated.

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“I’m really happy for the team to win a gold medal and third in Vancouver.”

Down on the field about 30 minutes or so after the full-time whistle, the Pumas Sevens continued to celebrate their historic triumph.

Even at the time of writing, which is about an hour after kick-off, there are still a couple of Argentina players still on the field – including Moneta.

There’s a reason that Moneta has risen up to superstar status within the game of rugby sevens with his blistering pace. When Moneta gets underway, there’s just no catching him.

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“I’m quick because of my coaches, my coaches that have been coaching me since I was a kid and the coach right now,” Moneta said.

“I don’t know, I was born with some speed, I don’t know. I just run. Close my eyes and run.”

Earlier, the New Zealand women’s sevens side won their first Cup final of the 2023/24 season after running away with a commanding 35-19 win over France.

Michaela Blyde and Jorja Miller both scored tries, but it was Portia Woodman-Wickliffe’s night as the SVNS veteran ran in a decisive hat-trick which included a first-half brace.

After celebrating with her teammates, and doing their haka to commemorate the occasion, Woodman-Wickliffe joked that she “didn’t know I had it in me” to run away for those three tries.

But on a more serious note, this is an important win for a New Zealand side who are missing some genuine firepower through injury.

“We had the likes of Sarah Hirini go out this year with her knee, Stacey (Waaka), Kelly Brazier, but the fact that we’ve gone through some moments that have been really quite hard in the past in terms of the rugby game, coming fifth in Perth was a real eye-opener for us,” Woodman-Wickliffe told this website.

“But to come out here, we’ve got some really new girls, we took out all the excess stuff that didn’t need to be there and made the game simple: get the ball wide, create space and play from there.”

New Zealand were practically perfect during their run to the final. They finished with a stunning 101+ points differential in pool play before conceding just seven points across their quarter and semi-final victories.

But the women in black saved their best for last. The Black Ferns Sevens’ win in the SVNS Vancouver Cup final wasn’t just clinical, but their dominance was reminiscent of their unrivalled success last season.

“Our game’s not perfect, we’ve got a long way to go,” Woodman-Wickliffe explained.

“Australia is always the pinnacle but France is such a massive side. They’re strong, they’re physical, they bring a different game that no one else does.

“Looking forward to the next tournament. We’ve got some girls that are coming back from injuries. It’s going to be exciting.

“But the ultimate is the Olympics at the end of this year so we want to be peaking towards that.”

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Pecos 141 days ago

Watching Scott Curry 35, in the final floundering on D, making zero impact in attack, & being gassed early in the game, was embarrassing. Dickson 34, tries hard but can’t match it when a quality opposition attacks multi-phase. Got outpaced several times. Thankfully Mikkelson 37, was absent, hopefully it’s for good. Time to cut these geriatrics loose.

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William 5 hours ago
All Blacks vs England takeaways: Richie Who? Time for Cortez

Correct analysis of Perofeta’s bungling of the try opportunity Ben. Never ‘fixed’ Steward as he came across in defence and passed too early. Steward didn’t have to break his stride and simply moved on to pressure Telea. Never scanned the easier option of passing to the two supporting players on the inside. Beauden Barrett showed how it is done when he put Telea in for his try. Another point from the game is that the rush defence is hard to maintain as the number of phases increases. From scrums the defensive line only contains backs who all have roughly the same pace. Once forwards are involved, the defence has players with variable speeds often leading to a jagged line. It also tends to lose pace overall giving the attack more time and space. Beauden Barrett’s break to set up Telea’s try came because Baxter went in to tackle McKenzie and Steward went out to cover Telea. Barrett has a massive hole to run through, then commits Steward by passing as late as possible and Telea scores untouched. Another comment I would make is that Ben Earl is a good player and generally an excellent defender but he made three significant misses in the series, two of which led to All Black tries. Got stepped by Perofeta in Dunedin for Savea’s try, missed McKenzie in Auckland leading to what should have been a certain try being set up by Perofeta and was one of the tacklers who couldn’t stop Savea in the leadup to Telea’s first try. Perhaps he should contact Owen Farrell to pick up a few tips from ‘tackle school’.

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