The Black Ferns Sevens side have continued their impressive recent form with two big wins on the opening day of the Sydney Sevens tournament on Friday.
The side took out the Hamilton leg of the World Sevens Series last weekend and won both of their matches on the first day of the three-day Sydney tournament, beating Papua New Guinea 48-0 and France 29-14.
Australia, second behind the Black Ferns Sevens in the World Series standings, beat Brazil 28-12 and Spain 46-0. The United States — beaten finalists in Hamilton — defeated Canada 14-12 before losing to Fiji 17-14.
Recent form also played true on the men’s side of the draw, with Argentina – also winners in Hamilton – beating Canada 24-19 in a testing start to the weekend. Rodrigo Isgro scored two tries as Argentina rallied from a 19-5 deficit early in the second half.
The All Blacks Sevens side beat Uruguay 45-7 in its only match on Friday, while Olympic champion Fiji beat Tonga 52-7. Dietrich Roache and Henry Paterson scored tries for Australia in a tight 12-7 win over Great Britain.
The tournament continues Saturday with the remaining group matches and quarterfinals. The semifinals and final will be played Sunday.
The Black Ferns Sevens and All Blacks Sevens semifinals of the Sydney Sevens.
The Black Ferns Sevens and All Blacks Sevens have both advanced to the semifinals of the Sydney Sevens events while the home fans were shattered by two French upsets.
The Black Ferns Sevens will look to make it two titles in two weeks after beating Japan 33-0 to reach the quarter-finals.
Michaela Blyde scored in the opening minute, Jorja Miller crossed over in each half while Stacey Fluhler and Portia Woodman-Wickliffe also scored in the convincing quarter-final victory. They will play Ireland for a spot in the final, who the beat in the same stage last week before claiming the Hamilton title.
France’s 10-5 quarterfinal win prevented a familiar final in the women’s competition. Australia and New Zealand have met in two of the three women’s finals to date in the World Sevens Series and New Zealand leads the overall women’s standings by four points from Australia.
Australia now can finish no higher than fifth place. Chloe Pelle scored just before halftime and Carla Nelson added a second try in the 11th minute as France kept Australia on defense for most of the quarterfinal. Faith Nathan sprinted 85 meters for Australia’s only try in the 13th minute but the score came too late for Australia to snatch victory.
France will play USA in the other semifinal.
Home fans also were disappointed when the Australia men were edged by France, 17-14, in their quarterfinal. Australia led 14-7 at halftime but Theo Forner scored his second try of the match to level the score and France advanced to the semifinals with a late penalty to Thomas Carol.
The All Blacks Sevens overcame a narrow loss to South Africa in group play to beat Samoa and reach the semifinals. Dalvon Blood slotted a dropped kick from a penalty in the last minute to give South Africa a 17-14 win over New Zealand after both teams scored two tries.