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New Zealand claim another SVNS double with both teams winning Cup finals

By Finn Morton
The New Zealand men's and women's teams celebrate with their trophies after winning their respective cup final matches 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)

New Zealand have claimed a famous double on the SVNS Series for the second time in as many events with the Black Ferns Sevens and All Blacks Sevens taking out Cup final glory in Singapore on Sunday evening.

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Both Kiwi teams emerged victorious at the prestigious Hong Kong Sevens early last month, and after a few weeks back in New Zealand, they’ve come back and done it again by overcoming tough opposition in two great deciders.

The Black Ferns Sevens lined up alongside arch-rivals Australia before making their way out onto the field at Singapore’s National Stadium. While this may come as a surprise, this was only their second meeting in a Cup final this season (Dubai in December).

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New Zealand had been hit hard across the three-day event with Olympic gold medallists Tyla King and Shiray Kaka both suffering injuries, but the depth in the squad showed as they beat the Aussies to claim the SVNS Series League title.

Michaela Blyde stood out with a decisive hat-trick, and veterans Portia Woodman-Wickliffe and Stacey Waaka also added to the score as the Kiwis ran away with a dominant 31-21 win. But the Player of the Final was rightfully Jorja Miller.

Miller weaved through Australia’s defensive line to create several try-scoring opportunities, and the 20-year-old was also lethal on the other side of the ball with some nonsense hits in defence and some game-changing work at the breakdown.

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

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

“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.

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

The Black Ferns Sevens were recognised as the inaugural League winners on the new-look SVNS Series before making their way off the field into the stands ahead of the next game.

In the final match of the tournament, the All Blacks Sevens looked to deny Ireland what would’ve been their first-ever Cup final triumph on the Series. Ireland had looked good coming into the final, too, having beaten Argentina and Great Britain.

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2023 World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year nominee Leory Carter, who returned from injury for the Singapore leg of the Series, opened the scoring inside the first minute which saw the men in black get off to an idyllic start.

Fehi Fineanganofo added to New Zealand’s advantage four minutes later, but it was far from game over. Ireland hit back through Gavin Mullin before All Blacks Sevens skipper Dylan Collier delivered a big blow with a try in the 13th minute.

Ireland’s Harry McNulty sliced through New Zealand’s defensive line to help make it a three-point game with not long left. It was tense – you could feel the nervousness around the venue.

All Blacks Sevens ace Cody Vai knocked the ball on with about 30 seconds to go which gave the Irish an attacking scrum and one last roll of the dice. They threw everything at the Kiwis but a penalty at the breakdown sealed it 17-14.

Andrew Knewstubb kicked the ball high into the grandstands at the Singapore stadium as the New Zealanders began to celebrate their achievements but the impressive of the program to claim yet another men’s and women’s double.

“Me and my mate Andrew Knewstubb, we’re sick of sitting home and watching all the boys win 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 this website.

“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 added.

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

Catch up on all the latest SVNS Series action from the 2023/24 season on RugbyPass TV. SVNS Singapore is free to watch, all you need to do is sign up HERE.

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