The New Zealand women’s side have continued their unbeaten run at the Oceania Sevens in Townsville, beating Fiji 27-12 and Rio gold medallists Australia 26-5 on the final day.
In their final hit-out before the Tokyo Olympics, the Black Ferns sevens Fiji blew off the park in the first half on the way to a 27-12 victory. In that game Ruby Tui left the field bleeding from a cut to the head, inflicted by a stray knee.
Her head bound in black tape, Tui was back several hours later for the game against Australia, scoring the second New Zealand try after a gliding run through the wide defence.
New Zealand led 19-5 at halftime, with Australia’s sole try a brilliant kick and chase by Madison Higgins-Ashby. While the second half was more even, the Black Ferns sevens dominated.
Michaela Blyde dazzled Australia with her fast feet and stepping, while Portia Woodman was all power and pace out wide.
The Fiji match was as good as over by halftime as New Zealand raced to a 22-0 lead, with Blyde scoring two long-range tries.
To Fiji’s credit, they opened the second half with back-to-back tries to make it interesting for a brief period.
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But Woodman snuffed out any hope of a miracle comeback with her second try of the match.
The nasty head gash to Tui was the only injury concern for the Black Ferns sevens.
Tui caught an accidental knee to the face while attempting a tackle, though she managed to play on until the referee sent her off for medical attention.
Meanwhile, the All Blacks sevens overcame a mistake-riddled first half to beat their trans-Tasman rivals Australia 17-5, but lost the virtual final against Fiji 17-7, after trailing 17-0 early in the second half.
Fiji scored tries in the 4th and 8th minutes to open a 12-0 halftime led. A try by Kurt Baker put New Zealand back in with a sniff, only for their finishing touch to desert them.
In the earlier game, Australia got off to a flying start, scoring within the opening 20 seconds through Samu Kerevi after New Zealand failed to secure the kick-off.
Coach Clark Laidlaw would have been disappointed with his side’s execution in the first half as their hands let them down repeatedly.
They eventually managed to get it right in the seventh-minute as William Warbrick crossed out wide off a well-worked set-play from a lineout.
New Zealand hit the lead for the first time midway through the second half through Caleb Clarke, but only after Ngarohi McGarvey-Black almost butchered the tap from a penalty.
As the match went on New Zealand’s strength at the breakdown shone through and Kitiona Vai sealed the result in the final minute with a powerful burst from the ruck.
The win made it two from two for the All Blacks sevens against Australia following Friday’s 24-21 victory.