New Zealand women and Argentina men victorious in Hamilton

World Rugby

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Argentina men and New Zealand women secured HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series gold on a dramatic final day in Hamilton.

New Zealand were superb all weekend in the women’s event, scoring 225 points and conceding just 19.

In the Cup final, Michaela Blyde scored a hat-trick in a 33-7 win over USA, while Australia claimed bronze thanks to a 33-17 victory over Ireland.

New Zealand captain Sarah Hirini said:  “It is so amazing to win our home tournament, the support have been brilliant and we are delighted. The team have given everything over the two days and we will enjoy this one.”

HSBC Player of the Final Blyde, who scored 10 tries in two days, said:  “This one is extra special, it means a lot.”

New Zealand now lead the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series standings on 58 points with bronze medal winning Australia second on 54 points and USA third on 50 points.

In the men’s competition Argentina came back from 12-0 down to win the men’s Cup final 14-12 against the All Blacks Sevens while USA took bronze with a thrilling 15-14 win over France.

Argentina’s Gaston Revol said:  “This is just amazing, we have worked so hard for this. To beat New Zealand in New Zealand is the ultimate and the team never knew when they were beaten, everyone put in a lot of effort.”

HSBC Player of the Final Rodrigo Isgro said:  “This team just works so hard, what a feeling.”

New Zealand now lead the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series standings on 63 points with USA second on 61 points and Argentina third on 59 points.

New Zealand’s women continued where they had left off earlier in the day – and indeed on Saturday – with another excellent performance to defeat USA and win gold.

A Michaela Blyde try double with one in the middle from Jazmin Felix-Hotham and three conversions from Tyla Nathan-Wong put them 21-0 up in the Cup final.

Cheta Emba rounded off a good personal weekend for her with a try for USA converted by Alena Olsen, but there was no stopping New Zealand.

Blyde completed her hat-trick and then Portia Woodman-Wickliffe completed a 33-7 scoreline.

New Zealand now have a silver and two golds from three events while USA have two bronzes and a silver.

The Black Ferns Sevens reached the final thanks to a 43-12 win over Japan in the quarter-final and a convincing 32-0 defeat of Ireland in the semi-final.

USA’s route to the women’s final involved a 27-7 quarter-final victory over Fiji before beating Australia in a closely fought encounter by a 10-7 scoreline.

In the men’s Cup final Argentina fought back from 12-0 down to win a breath-taking encounter.

In the first half, New Zealand had to deal with a yellow card for Joe Webber, but they took the lead when down to six men.

Akuila Rokolisoa was the try scorer that time and, when back to seven, Roderick Solo scored a second try just before half-time. Rokolisoa converted and it was 12-0 at the interval.

The second half belonged to Argentina though and tries from Santiago Alvarez and Marcos Moneta – converted by Santiago Vera Feld and Tobias Wade respectively – put them 14-12 up.

There was then late, late drama as Brady Rush had a try effort disallowed for New Zealand, meaning Argentina claimed a famous victory.

For Argentina, this gold is their first medal of the 2023 Series and should give them momentum for the coming months.

New Zealand now have a bronze and two silvers from four events to lead the Series standings.

Earlier in the day Argentina beat crowd favourites Fiji 19-10 in the quarter-final before overcoming USA 24-14 in the semi-final.

New Zealand’s route to the final involved a tense 10-5 quarter-final win over Ireland, followed by a 38-0 demolition of France in a one-sided semi-final.

The 2023 Series is shaping up to be the most competitive in history with the prize of Olympic Games Paris 2024 qualification on offer for the top four women’s and men’s teams in the 2023 Series standings, while hosts France have pre-qualified for next summer’s pinnacle event in the nation’s capital.

The stakes couldn’t be higher at the bottom end of the men’s Series this season as well. Following the penultimate event in Toulouse, the 15th ranked team will be relegated to the 2024 Sevens Challenger Series while the 12th through 14th ranked teams will face off against the Sevens Challenger Series 2023 winner for the 12th and final position on the 2024 Series.

The men’s and women’s teams move straight on to Sydney, Australia for the next round of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2023 on 27-29 January and the pools have been confirmed.

In the men’s competition, Pool A sees Hamilton winners Argentina drawn with hosts Australia, Great Britain and Canada. Pool B is led by current Series leaders New Zealand, together with South Africa, Kenya and Uruguay. USA, Ireland, Samoa and Spain will compete in Pool C. Double Olympic champions Fiji will be looking to return to form and are in Pool D with France, Tonga and Japan.

The women’s pools see New Zealand paired with Japan, France and Papua New Guinea in Pool A. USA head a strong looking Pool B that includes Great Britain, Fiji and Canada. Hosts Australia are in Pool C together with Ireland, Spain and Brazil.