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Rivalry renewed: Who New Zealand and Australia face at SVNS LAX

By Finn Morton
New Zealand's players celebrate with the trophy after winning the 2024 HSBC Canada Sevens women's rugby tournament at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver, Canada, on February 25, 2024. (Photo by Don MacKinnon / AFP) (Photo by DON MACKINNON/AFP via Getty Images)

New Zealand and Australia will renew their epic sporting rivalry once again when the neighbours separated by ‘the ditch’ meet at the upcoming SVNS Series leg in Los Angeles.

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The two men’s teams have met on the sevens track once before this season with the All Blacks Sevens dismantling the Aussie 7s 35-5 in Cape Town a few months ago.

But Australia went on to qualify for the Cape Town final that weekend and backed that up with another second-place finish at their home event in Perth at the end of January.

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HSBC SVNS Singapore – 3-5 May 2024

Tickets are now available at SVNS.com for the seventh round of the reimagined HSBC SVNS 2024 in Singapore, taking place at the Singapore National Stadium on 3-5 May.

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As for the All Blacks Sevens, they’ll go into SVNS LAX with plenty of confidence after their best finish at a tournament this season.

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New Zealand made their first final of the 2023/24 campaign at Vancouver’s BC Place Stadium on Sunday evening.

While they didn’t win, with Argentina extending their lead on the SVNS Series standings to 24 points, it was still a supremely successful weekend for the men in black as they continue to build ahead of the Series’ Grand Final in Madrid and the Paris Olympics.

The same can be said for New Zealand’s women’s side, too, with the Black Ferns Sevens ending their Cup final drought this season with a triumphant win over France in Vancouver.

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They were sensational on their road to glory. New Zealand had a +101 points differential in pool play and only conceded seven points across their quarter and semi-final victories.

After finishing fifth in Perth last month – a result which Portia Woodman-Wickliffe described as an “eye-opener” – the Kiwis bounced back and will return home to Aotearoa with some silverware.

“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 RugbyPass.

“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.

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“Our game’s not perfect, we’ve got a long way to go,” she added.

“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.”

But the New Zealanders still have a job to do in LA and they’ll be hungry to go back-to-back after being drawn in a favourable pool ahead of their trip to the U.S-of-A.

The Black Ferns Sevens have been drawn in a pool along with Brazil and South Africa. Those two teams are currently in the bottom four on the overall Series standings. New Zealand will also look to get the better of an always-dangerous Fiji side.

Australia, who were upset in the Vancouver semi-finals by France, will get their shot at revenge after being drawn in the same pool as Les Bleues Sevens for Los Angeles. But Australia’s mission for payback doesn’t stop there with the women in gold also set to play Ireland for the first time since last month’s Perth final.

The SVNS Series heads to Los Angeles next from March 1 to 3 and tickets can be bought HERE.

SVNS Los Angeles

Men’s pools

Pool A: Argentina, Ireland, South Africa, Spain

Pool B: Australia, New Zealand, Samoa, United States of America

Pool C: Canada, Fiji, France, Great Britain

Women’s pools

Pool A: Brazil, Fiji, New Zealand, South Africa

Pool B: Australia, France, Ireland, Japan

Pool C: Canada, Great Britain, Spain, United States of America

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