2019 Langford Sevens: NZ Double, Triple, and Fourth Black Ferns 7s win

2019 Langford Sevens: Double, Triple, Fourth win for Black Ferns 7s
LANGFORD , BC - MAY 12: Sarah Hirini #5 of New Zealand lifts the championship trophy following an HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series Gold medal match against Australia at Westhills Stadium on May 12, 2019 in Langford, British Columbia, Canada. New Zealand beat Australia 21-17. (Photo by Kevin Light/Getty Images)

With the dust settling at the Westhills Stadium, in Langford, Canada somethings never change. Even though in Kitakyushu, the script was thrown away but, within three weeks it’s ‘back to the norm’ as the New Zealand Black Ferns 7s claimed multiple rewards and the 2019 Langford Sevens crown.

Overcoming their nemesis Australia 21-17, in a hard-fought final, there was a double celebration too for the Kiwis, as they also qualified for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

The sides third title in-a-row in Langford; their fourth ever in Canada. This was also their fourth title in the 2018/19 HSBC Women’s Sevens Series. So there were many reasons to smile for Sarah Hirini, Kelly Brazier, and Nial Williams (see above photo).

Consistency, the ability to mold future stars while maintaining the high level of performance, epitomizes the Sevens Sisters 2019 squad.

New Zealand recovered from a less than satisfactory Japan-leg of the series, while the United States continues to question the norm, in finishing third in Langford. They are meeting the new expected standard, with fellow title-chaser France ending the weekend in fourth spot. The Americans consistency has been rewarded with a move up to second spot in the Series.

Hosts Canada had a dismal Day Two (after succeeding in the previous Sevens Series tournament). Going down to Team USA in the Cup quarterfinals before bouncing back with a victory over Kitakyushu finalists England, to finish fifth and give local fans something to cheer about.

To wrap up to high-flyers, Spain managed to reach the quarterfinals again, gaining valuable points over Fijiana; who again were satisfied with another Challenge Trophy. Those points kept Fiji’s chances of survival beside the big guns for next season alive, with one Tournament to go.

One tournament for others to fight it out for the remaining places at the Olympics. New Zealand can still be overhauled for this season’s title….if they fail to reach the Cup knockout stages. Yet, for a team like the Black Ferns 7s, with double, triple, and a fourth win this year, they will be tough to beat.

2019 Langford Sevens: Double, Triple, Fourth win for Black Ferns 7s

New Zealand has set the benchmark for consistency. United States and France are consistent threats now. Though Canada and Australia are like yo-yo with Spain, Ireland and England’s the one-offs. Then you have your inconsistent teams; like Fiji, Russia and China.

With the tournaments increasing to eight next year it will be exciting to watch who will adapt to the changes quickly. All the teams deserve their spot up there with the best but is that enough making up the numbers. While most of the teams enjoy the full backing of their Olympic committees, Fijiana lacks the resources yet they turn up and play on for the noble banner blue.

Consistency can only be found in a team when everything is synced. Physically, mentally, spiritually, culturally and in team camaraderie. In regards to fitness, returning aces Michaela Blyde and Kelly Brazier added plenty to the on-field and off-field efforts.

All the above; along with a good coaching group, means the team performed to very best.

Sarah Hirini [nee Goss] told WorldRugby.com “It feels amazing. I just want to thank all the fans that came out. I’m really proud of the effort the girls have put in over the last few days.”

Reaching Objective of Olympics – step one complete

“Our goal this season was to qualify for the Olympics and that’s for all the girls back home who are training really hard and our coach back home as well.

“Australia are an amazing team and every time we play them we have to play our best as it’s a tough match. I’m just so proud of the girls and how we dug in. This tournament has grown from strength to strength and I hope that continues for many more years.”

The Southern Hemisphere teams had the strength this weekend. Yet sides like France, Canada, England and the USA can turn the tables at a minutes notice. A lot can happen in seven minutes, in two halves of a rugby sevens game. Games which can sometimes result in surprise outcomes.

New Zealand however, are doing their best to halt that possibility. Indeed, doing a good job of it at the HSBC 2019 Langford Sevens. A tournament they love to perform on [even if the artificial surface causes grass burns].

HSBC 2019 Langford Sevens accolades

Several players reached Sevens Series milestones;

  • Camille Grassineau (France) and Charity Williams (Canada) notching up their 50th World Series tries
  • Emma Tonegato of Australia, became a centurion with 100 series tries.

HSBC Player of the Final – Tyla Nathan-Wong

As well as players being heralded, the officials are also being celebrated. Sarah Cox was honoured for her high standards, as the UL Mark of Excellence recipient in Langford.

DHL Impact Player of the Tournament – Britt Benn, of Canada.

She was a power of defence and support play, which pushes her up to seventh place for the season. Leading the DHL Impact points table though is the sublime, Sarah Hirini.

The Last Word on the 2018/19 Women’s Sevens Series

New Zealand has set the benchmark for all Women’s team to aspire to. They have gained the first automatic spot to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics joining hosts Japan. United States just has only to take the field in Biarritz to qualify. Australia and Canada are highly likely to join them.

The rest of the teams will have to Qualify through Regional Tournaments and the repechage competitions, that are to be scheduled before the Tokyo games.

Fijiana and China will battle for survival in Biarritz. Brazil will replace the bottom-placed team after the Series ends in June. Don’t miss the final tournament in France. It will be electrifying, may be unpredictable, yet always full of excitement.

 

“Main photo credit”
Embed from Getty Images

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