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NZ party like it's 2014 with double sevens joy

2023-04-02 HKT 20:17
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  • NZ party like it's 2014 with double sevens joy
New Zealand's men and women celebrated a Hong Kong Sevens double on Sunday, with the men securing the title for the first time against 2014 with a pulsating performance against perennial contenders Fiji.

Backed by vociferous black-clad fans at the Hong Kong Stadium, the New Zealand men capped off a thrilling weekend of action with a 24-17 victory.

It was some comeback from their performance at the last tournament in November, when they missed a cup place for the first time ever.

The New Zealanders got a grip of the game early, with Cody Vai, Sione Molia and Leroy Carter going over in the first half on the way to a 19-0 lead.

Viwa Naduvalo then pulled one back for Fiji before the break, only for Ngarohi McGarvey-Black to restore New Zealand's lead.

The Fijians, backed by their usual army of supporters dressed in blue, as well as many Hong Kong fans, showed some pulsating ball-handling skills as they attempted to fight their way back into the match.

Ioseva Talacolo went over twice late in the game, but it wasn't enough to stop the New Zealand celebrations.

A few minutes earlier, a tightly-contested 26-17 win over trans-Tasman rivals Australia gave New Zealand's top-ranked women their title.

The New Zealanders dominated the tournament – played simultaneously with the men's event for the first time ever – from start to finish, having set the tone with a 50-0 victory over the hosts on Friday.

It was the Australians who claimed first blood in Sunday night's final, with Bienne Terita going over for an early try. Sacey Waaka went over to level things, with Tyla Nathan-Wong adding the extras to put New Zealand ahead.

Australia's Charlotte Caslick went over to put her side back ahead just after the break, but a converted try from Michaela Blyde restored New Zealand's advantage.

A Sariah Packi try brought Australia back into the contest before player of the match Waaka crossed again to complete the scoring.

Great Britain took the women's bronze medal, beating Fiji 22-19. On the men's side, France pipped Great Britain 19-17.
Last updated: 2023-04-02 HKT 21:00

NZ party like it's 2014 with double sevens joy