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NZ do double in Sydney


New Zealand do the double in Sydney

In a thrilling final day of play at the HSBC Sydney Sevens, the All Blacks Sevens and Black Ferns Sevens combined to claim double gold and take the lead in the Sevens World Series standings.

It is the second time this season the teams have joined in celebration, both claiming Dubai Sevens crowns in December.

The Black Ferns Sevens and All Blacks Sevens opened the day with dominant performances, 29-5 and 28-5 wins respectively.

The Black Ferns Sevens, without injured vice-captain Tyla Nathan-Wong, were composed in their semi-final performance against USA, crossing for three tries either side of half time.

The win set up a repeat Final showdown against Australia, the teams meeting in the Sydney Sevens decider last year which is the last match that the Black Ferns Sevens tasted defeat.

It was five all after early exchanges before the Black Ferns Sevens launched, Michaela Blyde running in three tries and Stacey Waaka nabbing a brace on the way to a 34-10 victory.

Waaka was named Player of the Final, while Blyde received the UL Mark of Excellence for her Finals hattrick.

Coach Allan Bunting said the maiden World Series title on Australian soil was sweet.

“It doesn’t get much harder than beating Australia in Australia, and we hadn’t won the Sydney event before so it’s a great moment.

“This weekend has definitely tested our depth and it has been really pleasing to see everyone step up and put in performances they can be proud of,” said Bunting.

After a quarterfinal victory over France the All Blacks Sevens set up a thrilling semifinal encounter against series-leaders Fiji, and had to do so without the services of co-captain Tim Mikkelson who was ruled out after failing a concussion test.

The All Blacks Sevens built a performance from a composed defensive effort and managed to silence a Fijian team who had looked unstoppable over the past two weeks.

Capitalising on a Fijian red card, the All Blacks Sevens ran in six tries, Vilimoni Koroi and Kurt Baker both crossing twice on the way to the 36-14 victory.

In the Cup Final, the All Blacks Sevens faced USA, who had bundled them out of the Hamilton tournament just a week prior.

Down to just 10 players, the All Blacks Sevens produced another determined defensive effort that laid the platform for the 21-5 victory. Sam Dickson was named Player of the Final.

Sarah Hirini, Gayle Broughton, Kurt Baker and Sam Dickson were named in the respective Tournament Dream Teams.

The golden effort sees both teams claim full points for the overall series standings, the Black Ferns Sevens leading the Women’s Series and the All Blacks Sevens sit in equal first position with USA.

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New Zealand do the double in Sydney
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