#RWC7s – Landslide victory for Black Ferns Sevens to retain World Cup

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In the ‘Land of the Free’ and the world’s greatest democracy, the nation enjoyed the attention of the rugby world. And with it, fans witnessed an landslide victory for the Black Ferns Sevens in the final of the Rugby World Cup Sevens.

The Kiwi women swept aside France 29-0 to win the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens (RWC7s) in convincing style. With that, they retain the women’s world title. An historic victory too, as the Black Ferns Sevens become the first team [ever] to win back-to-back a world sevens title.

16 women’s teams competed for the coveted trophy but, after two full on days of rugby sevens competition, the champions stood tallest. Held a the iconic AT&T Park over Friday and Saturday, the last 48 hours of rugby sevens exceeded the expectations.

The Men’s final playoff games will be held tomorrow where New Zealand will be hoping for a double-victory – like the nation enjoyed in Moscow 2013.

#RWC7s – Landslide victory for Black Ferns Sevens

The intensity and physicality brought by the Kiwis was hard for the French to handle. It will be the second major title for the season for the Black Ferns after their Commonwealth Games triumph.

Australia settled for third spot with USA fourth. Ireland surprised many to finish sixth with England a disappointing tenth.

It was all New Zealand in the final with France showing glimpses of their capability which the Kiwis nullified quickly. Portia Woodman, Ruby Tui, Sarah Goss and Michaela Blyde stood up in the final an led the onslaught.

Winning captain Sarah Goss spoke after the final. “It doesn’t get any better. I’m so grateful to be here and for a performance like that and for Michaela Blyde to stand up like that. So it’s an amazing day.

Rugby World Cup Sevens San Francisco 2018 - Day Two
New Zealand players celebrate after winning the Championship match against France to win the 2018 Woman’s Rugby World Cup Sevens at AT&T Park on July 21, 2018 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham – World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images)

“France are a quality team and for them not to score against us, is a proud effort from the sisters. We had one goal and that was to take the trophy back, and I can’t wait to go home and show it to the New Zealand public,” Goss told rwcsevens.com

Kiwi Sevens Sisters save their best for Cup Final

Michaela Blyde finished the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens in style grabbing a hat-rick in the final. Tayla Nathan-Wong and Portia Woodman grabbing the other tries. The French went close on several occasions [as seen in the highlights] but the Kiwi defense stood tall and kept them scoreless.

France had few chances, and will have to settle in the knowledge that they achieved their highest ever finish at an RWC7s. Fanny Horta led her side well over the two days but luck wasn’t on their side.

As entertaining in their earlier four matches. Lina Guerin, Camille Grassineau, Amedee Montserratt and Chloe Pelle were outstanding in their roles. The French women showed amazing team work, bettering much more favoured sides. Defeating Japan, Canada and Australia, before coming up against the toughest opposition of them all; the Black Ferns Sevens.

However, long striding rookie Anne-Cecile Ciofani was the standout for the side. Her performance earned her the ‘Breakthrough Player of the Tournament’ award.

Olympics champions settle for Bronze

Australia had to settle for bronze, after overcoming the host nation USA, 24-12. The Aussies fell to the flamboyant French in the Cup quarter-finals 19-12, with the United States succumbing to eventual winners New Zealand 21-26.

Not the outcome the 2017/18 HSBC Sevens Series champs will have planned for, but it shows how France had been powerfully motivated by the success of their Football team. Claiming such an highly regarded prize gave every other French national team, newfound hope of doing the same. France magically upset Australia – but who is the say that the Aussies would not have succumbed to New Zealand (as every side has in the past 6 months)

Spain secured fifth place with their 12-7 victory over the improved Irish. The disappointed Canadians 22-10 win over Russia, had them settle for seventh place. Not where the side wanted, but still inside the important Top 8.

After their shock round one loss to Ireland, the English claimed the Challenge Trophy [ninth place] after beating Japan 31-5. Fijiana ended their campaign in 11th spot, with a 38-0 victory over China. Brazil earned a 22-0 victory over South Africa, which gave them 13th place and the PNG Palais finished 15th, with a solid 32-0 victory over the wooden spoon holders, Mexico.

Rugby World Cup Sevens; the Women’s final Verdict

Interest in the game will continue to grow with the success and popularity of this women’s tournament. Positives came from the outstanding interplay of the female athletes. The ball skills, stamina and notably, the strength and apparent confrontation in the tackle area, which makes the women’s game more and more on par, with the standards of the men’s game.

Some are not happy with the new format. Yet, it works …even though it doesn’t really give the minnows room to grow in the tourney. It could be seen as a limitation to the mid-tier nations – losing one key match, as England did, can drop them into a level where the opposition are mis-matched. But after one RWC7s event, it might need to be re-evaluated in four more years.

The Black Ferns Sevens will be unstoppable for another season, however fans will now see that the French will be a side to be reckoned with. Also, teams like Mexico will take back invaluable lessons. So little has changed in terms of ‘who won’ but, much has changed in the level of play.

And that is a result that World Rugby can be most pleased with.

RWC7s gives platform for World’s Best Players

Places are occupied by the ‘match winners’ in Michaela Blyde and Portia Woodman. The Black Ferns Sevens could occupy more places, as the likes of Kelly Brazier and Gayle Broughton showed their class on AT&T Park’s beautifully prepared surface. Naya Tapper was a great ambassador, as was Vani Pelite, and the masterful, Sarah Goss.

French star Annie-Cecile Cifon, and Chen Emily Kiye of China are clearly now stars of the game. Northern hemisphere unions like the Irish have proved to be much more competitive, while Fijiana must do more soul-searching in the off-season.

In terms of the Women’s competition, Last Word on Rugby will see you all back in October, at the newly incorporated Colorado Sevens event, to begin the new HSBC Sevens Series.

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