New Zealand Sets Hopes on Olympic Gold after Hong Kong Sevens


The Hong Kong Sevens has always delivered excitement and entertainment for everyone with Hong Kong Sevens tickets. 

This is the last year the tournament will be hosted at the Hong Kong Stadium, and it did the same. 

With New Zealand triumphing in both the men's and women's championships, they send out a strong warning that they are potential candidates for Olympic Gold in Paris. 

The Black Ferns Sevens, the women's team, has always been favourites, winning gold in 2020 and looking for a second one, but the improvement from the men's side was impressive. 

The men's team is now confident that they can go for gold.

A cagey men's final, in the most prestigious leg of the World Series, was decided by two quickfire second-half tries by Scott Curry and Cody Vai.

France, the winner of the previous leg of the series in Los Angeles, scored unchallenged at the death through Varian Pasquet, with Rayan Rebbadj nailing the conversion.

But that was the last action, and New Zealand's triumphant men and women celebrated at a boisterous 40,000-capacity Hong Kong Stadium by doing the haka.

It was an extraordinary occasion for New Zealand's Tone Ng Shiu because he is a quarter Chinese. The result was also a warning of intent, with the Olympics just over three months away.

"I'm just speechless, and it's an unreal feeling," said Ng Shiu, who just returned from a severe knee injury

"We know we've got a target on our backs (at the Olympics), but we're trying to take it one tournament at a time

"We spoke about why we love this game, and at the end of the day, we all came out, prepared well, stuck to the routine and did our job.

"This is a stepping stone. We can keep rising and peak by the time the Olympics come.

The mindset of this relatively new New Zealand men's side won the hearts of the fans, who were gathered in numbers with Hong Kong Sevens tickets. The All Black Sevens sides have delivered some of the most exhilarating finals at the Hong Kong Sevens in the past, and this year's effort was exceptional. 

France back Aaron Grandidier acknowledged that the Olympics were on their minds, but said: "It's something that we try and avoid thinking about because there are things we want to achieve before that, there are tournaments before that.

"But it's a home Olympics, and it does not even come around once in a generation, so it's difficult not to have it in the back of our minds."

There was to be no first sevens title for former Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper on his debut tournament in the abbreviated form of rugby.

The Australians lost to their neighbours New Zealand 26-7 in the semifinals.

The 32-year-old Hooper, a veteran of 125 Tests but a sevens rookie, hopes to force his way into the Australia squad for Paris.

Discarded from the fifteens outfit by Eddie Jones ahead of the Rugby World Cup, Michael Hooper is finding ground with the sevens outfit. 

He admitted he has plenty to learn and needs to get fit quickly after an Achilles injury delayed his introduction to sevens.

"Just how quick it is, how quick the game is, it's over in a flash," he said.

Fiji, the reigning two-time Olympic champion, was more frustrated when New Zealand defeated it in the last eight.

Argentina, which came to Hong Kong as the series leader after five rounds, failed to advance beyond the pool stage.

The team still tops the standings but is now just eight points clear of Ireland, which finished third with a 14-5 win over Australia.

In the women's table, New Zealand — the Olympic champions — is now level on points with rival Australia at the top.

The next leg of the series is in Singapore from May 3 to 5.

Black Ferns - Unstoppable? 

New Zealand beat the USA 36-7 to lift the trophy at the Hong Kong Sevens. This triumph was their third consecutive gold in this year's Sevens Series, taking them above Australia to the top of the HSBC SVNS series standings.

Black Ferns speedster Michaela Blyde scored a hat-trick as the Black Ferns Sevens proved too strong for a USA side making their first final appearance of the season after winning 19-5 against France in the semifinals. 

Australia lost to New Zealand 28-14 in the semifinals but eventually pulled a thrilling 24-21 against France to take bronze. The bronze final brought some exciting end-to-end rugby, leaving all the fans with Hong Kong Sevens tickets up on their seats. 

They now sit equal with New Zealand in the series standings on 106 points but drop to second on points difference. 

Black Ferns Win Recap 

Jorja Miller scored the first points of the gold-medal match, bursting through on an outside break to score seven points under the sticks. That lead was extended to 12 as the lethal Michaela Blyde couldn’t be stopped in the left corner.

The USA’s problems were compounded when Steph Rovetti was shown yellow for a tackle in the air, allowing Blyde to score an almost identical second. But there was hope on the stroke of half-time; Alex Sedrick finished Ilona Maher’s break to score 17-7 at half-time.

Blyde’s third in the second half all but secured New Zealand’s win, but Mahina Paul’s score cemented it, taking their lead to 29-7. Paul found a gap once more as the clock went into the red, and New Zealand became Hong Kong champions for the second year in a row. 

Semifinals - New Zealand Beat Australia 

In only their fifth-ever semifinal meeting, Australia, who pounced first, a ball spilled by New Zealand was picked up and finished by the series’ leading try scorer, Maddison Levi.

New Zealand got on the scoreboard thanks to a cruising break from Jorja Miller through the middle, finished by support runner Michaela Blyde. 

Still, Australia replied almost immediately as Charlotte Caslick powered towards the South Stand for her first try of the tournament. New Zealand, however, had one more effort before the break, Risi Pouri-Lane equalling the scores at 14-14.

The Black Ferns Sevens took the upper hand in the second half. Portia Woodman-Wickliffe finished off a team score as Australia’s attack faltered in pursuit of an equaliser. Miller crossed under the sticks as the full-time hooter went to complete their route to the final.