Black Ferns Sevens crowned champions in Toulouse

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It was Australia who struck first in the Cup final, with Demi Hayes cutting through the defensive line to score in just the second minute. 


Risi Pouri-Lane responded for the Black Ferns Sevens, stepping her way through to level the score. Australia then found an overlap on the left-hand-side, with Faith Nathan crossing over for their second to give her side a 14-7 lead at the break. 


New Zealand levelled the score again early in the second spell. Jazmin Hotham side stepping to put Michaela Blyde into a gap. She was chased down and tackled by Maddison Levi just short of the line, which is no easy feat. However, the Black Ferns Sevens had numbers and a quick recycle enabled Alena Saili to crash over the line, hitting the posts on route to the white chalk. 


Sarah Hirini made a great break up the middle of the field with two minutes left on the clock, eventually put to ground, but a pick and go from veteran Kelly Brazier put the Black Ferns Sevens in front by seven. It was a nerve-wracking final minute, with Australia pouncing on loose ball, but a diving tackle from Blyde forced the error and the Kiwis were able to finally celebrated as the ball sailed into touch.


Head coach Cory Sweeney, who claimed his first title since taking on the role said: “It is a proud moment and an emotional moment for us all.



“After Langford we worked on a few things, had some awesome training sessions and we put that into practice this week.”


Skipper Sarah Hirini was named player of the final and spoke about what the victory means.


"Australia are an amazing team and obviously have won the World Series, but I love this team. We haven't played for a very long time so to now win a tournament is pretty exciting."


Earlier, the Black Ferns Sevens sailed through pool play, defeating Scotland, Spain and Canada without leaking a single point. They beat Brazil 41-0 in the Cup quarterfinal before edging Oceania rivals Fiji 24-14 in the semifinal. 


It's the final tournament for the Black Ferns Sevens on the 2022 series, with Covid severely hampering their schedule. They only competed in two of the six tournaments. 


They will now turn their attention to the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in late July, before preparing for the Sevens World Cup in Cape Town in early September. 



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