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Black Ferns Sevens beat Australia to go back-to-back in SVNS Series finals

By Finn Morton
New Zealand's players celebrate with the trophy after winning the 2024 HSBC Rugby Sevens Los Angeles tournament final women's match against Australia at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California on March 3, 2024. (Photo by Patrick T. Fallon / AFP) (Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)

The Black Ferns Sevens have well and truly put their tough start to the season behind them by going back-to-back on the SVNS Series with Cup final wins in Vancouver and now Los Angeles.

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New Zealand came into this weekend’s event at Dignity Health Sports Park with the ‘defending champions’ moniker resting on their shoulders after taking out the title in Canada last time out.

The women in black blitzed France in the Vancouver decider and carried their purple patch of form into SVNS LAX with a near-perfect run to a second-consecutive Cup triumph.

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Without the likes of Stacey Waaka and Sarah Hirini, and with Jorja Miller going off with a HIA inside the first minute, New Zealand rose to the occasion against their arch-rivals Australia.

Wing Michaela Blyde scored a sensational hat-trick and tries to Risi Pouri-Lane and Portia Woodman-Wickliffe inspired the Black Ferns Sevens’ 29-14 win.

“We’ve won two! I had a callout to the Facebook warriors before, too, that were hating on us and everything so I’d like to see where you guys are now – probably saying congratulations,” New Zealand’s Shiray Kaka told RugbyPass.

“We’re so stoked to be able to do it for our families. Those are the ones that actually matter so it’s pretty cool.”

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New Zealand were practically perfect during pool play as they finished that phase with a +107 points differential after wins over South Africa, Brazil and Fiji.

Their fine form carried through to Day Three with the Kiwis recording statement victories over Ireland – without Portia Woodman-Wickliffe for this match – and Canada by telling margins.

Everything seemed to just click for the New Zealanders during both Vancouver and Los Angeles, and that goes for each player and the collective as a whole.

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“Probably just sticking in it,” Kaka said when asked about the secret behind her own form.

I’ve got my husband at home, I’ve got my family at home so as long as I’m having fun then that’s what’s going to get me through and I’ll gonna keep doing that.”

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