HSBC Langford Sevens: Kiwi Girls Show Real Maturity to Win Cup

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New Zealand Black Fern Sevens celebrate on the podium after their 17-7 gold final victory over Canada in the Women's Sevens Rugby Canada tournament at Westhills Stadium in Langford, BC, Canada, May 28, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Don MacKinnon (Photo credit should read DON MACKINNON/AFP/Getty Images)

The HSBC Langford Sevens has again fallen out of the reach of the home nation. Canada had done well to make the Cup final, but found a strong and mature New Zealand side that would go undefeated this weekend.

The result capped off a great weekend, with the high quality play entertaining the crowds over both days. Gaining in popularity, the ‘sister event’ to the Men’s Canada Sevens tournament held in Vancouver, is held at the perfect time of year–Summer. The weather held out again, and the action on the field was just as hot.

Kiwi Girls Show Real Maturity to Win Cup

It was the perfect finale at the the Westhills Stadium, as the hosts played in front of a large, vocal crowd, as the hosts tried to hunt down the series leaders New Zealand. However, it was the Kiwis who ‘showed up’ with Ruby Tui (who was teary-eyed during the singing of the anthems) leading the onslaught with her ‘Player of the Final’ performance. She was ruthless in defense and was all over the park, along with Niall Williams (see below image) doing damage in defense.

England (white) vs New Zealand (black) in HSBC Canada Women’s Sevens Rugby action at Westhills Stadium in Langford, BC, May 27, 2017. England won 26-0 over Netherlands. / AFP PHOTO / Don MacKinnon (Photo credit should read DON MACKINNON/AFP/Getty Images)

Michaela Blyde opened the scoring followed by captain Tayla Nathan-Wong (see above image) to lead 12-0. Julie Greenshield of Canada pulled one back, before the breather. At 12-7, the two teams head to halftime with words of advice from support staff. It was a very good defensive effort from the Kiwis that kept the Canadians at bay.

Over the next seven minutes, the hosts had plenty of opportunities but some wrong decision making and ill-discipline cost them the game. Ghislaine Landry had Charity Williams unmarked on the flanks, but chose to take on the defense–the Kiwis turned over the ball, as they had throughout the weekend. They kept on attacking the hosts line until a knock-on by Jen Kish; from a crunching tackle, was quickly passed to Alena Saili to seal the deal 17-7.

Canada Women do Well, But Cannot Overtake Kiwis

It was a perfect end to another fantastic tournament played under the beautiful sunshine of Langford. The Kiwis reiterated their strong depth in the squad, with the young rookies stepping up and showing real maturity.

Ashley Steacy was playing her last tournament on home soil for the hosts, with star players Bianca Farella and Julia Greenshields who continue to improve.

Player of the Final

HSBC Langford Sevens – Results Day Two

If Day One proved anything, it is that the women hit just as hard, run just as fast and entertain just as much, as the men can.

Cup Quarter-finals: Canada 33 England 5 | Australia 22 United States 10 | France 19 Ireland 5 | New Zealand 24 Russia 0

Cup semi-finals: Canada 17 Aus 10 | NZL 28 France 5

Fifth Place play-off: USA 21 Russia 26

Russia (blue) vs France (red) in HSBC Canada Women’s Sevens Rugby action at Westhills Stadium (Photo credit DON MACKINNON/AFP/Getty Images)

Bronze Medal Taken Away by Australia

In a good display, the Aussie women had very nearly taken their ‘A’ game all the way to the Final. Falling to Canada, Australia then had the satisfaction of beating France 26-12.They go away with a little heart, and will be aiming to make that step-up, and possibly head into the off-season with a title to savour.

Fijiana Take Away the Challenge Trophy

After failing to break into the quarter-final, the Fiji team then worked extra hard to find a reward. The made a sweep of the Latin nations; Brazil 24-19 in the semi-final.

That brought them into the final game against Spain. With their opponents also having a good campaign, it was a credit to Fijiana to run in five tries, and win 7-31. 

DHL Performance Tracker

Michaela Blyde was outstanding; her five try effort was one to remember, and it helps her gain on the Series leader. One more tournament for the ladies to ‘strut their stuff’.

HSBC Langford Sevens ‘Dream Team’

Overall, this weekend the leading sides had good results. The top three places stay consistent, but with Russia reaching the quarter-finals, that side has overtaken Fiji up to fourth place. So with one tournament left, Russia, Fiji and the United States are within just six points of each other. It is ‘all on’ to finish inside the Top 4.

In regards to New Zealand, they now only need to reach the Cup play-off stages, to take out the 2016/17 series. Nothing is certain, but the odds are strong if the real maturity shown by the Sevens Sisters is anything to go by.

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The HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series now heads to Clermont-Ferrand in France, on June 24-25, to settle the fight for the 2016/17 worlds title. Join Jovilisi Waqa for more riveting action, on Last Word on Rugby.

“Main photo credit”

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