All Blacks Sevens and Black Ferns Sevens crowned World Series champions

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The season was called off earlier this year due to Covid-19 and with the New Zealand teams leading the standings in both men’s and women’s competitions they were declared Series winners. It is the first combined victory since 2014.

As well as receiving gold medals and the series trophies, individual player awards were also announced, with Stacey Fluhler the big winner.

Fluhler received the Gilbert Top Try Scorer, DHL Impact Player and was joined by teammates Ruby Tui and Tyla Nathan-Wong in the women's Dream Team. All Blacks Sevens co-captain Scott Curry was named in the men’s Dream Team.

Nathan-Wong was also recognised for becoming the second women’s player to score 1000 series points with the UL Mark of Excellence.

Black Ferns Sevens Co-Coach Cory Sweeney said it felt surreal being awarded the World Series trophy on the training field at Blake Park.

“It’s not quite the same as being in Paris to receive the awards but its really important, given what’s happening at the moment, that we take a moment to celebrate what has been achieved.”

All Blacks Sevens Coach Clark Laidlaw echoed Sweeney’s sentiments, reflecting on the team’s last tournament in Vancouver in March and getting home just a week before borders were closed.

“This year has been surreal. We were playing well, won three of the six tournaments and made another final, so it feels a bit strange winning the World Series when we didn’t get to finish the season but in saying that we are extremely proud of how we prepared and played.”

With the borders still closed there is some uncertainty around upcoming scheduling, but Laidlaw said there are promising plans coming together.

“Getting back playing overseas will be tricky but we are excited about some internal sevens later in the year, Oceania are working really hard to create tournaments at the start of next year and hopefully the World Series will be back up and running in April,” said Laidlaw.

The majority of contracted players are currently involved in the Mitre 10 Cup and Farah Palmer Cup, Sweeney said it is great to see players getting game time.

“Our players will be learning new things from other coaches and players so we’re excited about what they are doing in terms of their development and what they will bring back into this environment,” said Sweeney.

HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2020 Award Winners

Men’s HSBC Dream Team:
• Scott Curry (New Zealand)
• Tavite Veredamu (France)
• JC Pretorius (South Africa)
• Napolioni Bolaca (Fiji)
• Jordan Conroy (Ireland)
• Aminiasi Tuimaba (Fiji)
• Selvyn Davids (South Africa)

Women’s HSBC Dream Team:
• Brittany Benn (Canada)
• Sharni Williams (Australia)
• Ruby Tui (New Zealand)
• Stacey Fluhler (New Zealand)
• Ghislaine Landry (Canada)
• Tyla Nathan-Wong (New Zealand)
• Kristi Kirshe (USA)

UL Mark of Excellence:
Men’s winner:
• Dan Norton (England): Dan Norton’s achievement of becoming the first sevens player to score 350 tries on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series at the HSBC Sydney Sevens
Women’s winner:
• Tyla Nathan-Wong (New Zealand): Tyla Nathan-Wong for becoming the first Black Ferns Sevens player – and second overall – to reach 1,000 series points at the HSBC Sydney Sevens

Gilbert Top Try Scorer: An award for the top try scorer on the men’s and women’s series.
• Men’s winner: Jordan Conroy (Ireland)
• Women’s winner: Stacey Fluhler (New Zealand)

DHL Impact Player: A stats-based award which statistically analyses individual players’ all round performances measured against four key criteria - offloads, carries, line-breaks and tackles.
• Men’s winner: Tavite Veredamu (France)
• Women’s winner: Stacey Fluhler (New Zealand)

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