Black Ferns Sevens season in-review thus far

BF story

It all kicked off in USA in October 2019. Newly minted co-coaches Allan Bunting and Cory Sweeney named a strong side to kick off the season. Both Stacey Fluhler and Gayle Broughton returned from long lay-offs, but the side was still without Portia Woodman, who is recovering from an Achilles injury.

 

That opened the door for 19-year-old Montessa Tairakena, whom at the time Sweeney described as one of the fastest players in the country.

 

Tairakena become Black Ferns Sevens player number 80 and crossed for two tries in what was a solid first outing for the teen. The Black Ferns Sevens blitzed through pool play on day one but tripped up against the home team, losing to USA 17-19 in the semi-finals.

 

After a third-place finish in Glendale the Black Ferns regrouped for a fresh challenge, their first ever back-to-back tournaments in Dubai and the new women’s leg in Cape Town.

 

They were forced to do so without captain Sarah Hirini, who was injured in Glendale, and reigning World Rugby Women’s Sevens Player of the Year, Michaela Blyde.

 

A pool play loss at the hands of France saw the team enter day two composed and turn the tables on USA in the semifnal before beating Canada 17-14 in a dramatic Final.

 

 

Stacey Fluhler was named Player of the Final for her two-try effort, while it was Gayle Broughton that crossed late in the game to secure the victory.

 

An injury to Shakira Baker made way for the second debut of the season, with Whakatane youngster Mahina Paul called up to meet the team in Cape Town the following weekend.

 

She made her presence felt on day two of the tournament, scoring the winning try in an extra time thriller against England in the quarter final.

 

Against old foes Australia in the Final, Ruby Tui nabbed a double, and Player of the Final, further confirming why she was named the World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year for 2019 earlier that month.

 

The Black Ferns Sevens celebrated their maiden title in South Africa alongside the All Blacks Sevens.

 

 

After a Christmas break, the team reassembled and prepared for their first official home tournament. Buoyed by the return of Hirini and Blyde they set Hamilton alight and again surpassed Canada in the Final 24-7. It was Blyde and Fluhler that really shone, scoring a remarkable 18 tries between them.

 

A week later in Sydney, in the hottest conditions the team had faced, they dealt with further adversity when Tui was injured on day one, making way for another debutant in Jazmin Hotham.

 

Tyla Nathan-Wong became just the second female player to surpass 1000 points on the World Series and she was awarded Player of the Final in yet another match up against Canada.

 

FUN FACTS

  • The Black Ferns Sevens have used 19 players so far this season, 18 players have crossed for points.
  • The team has scored 783 points, an average of almost 28 points a match.
  • They are the only team to have scored more than 20 tries in every tournament this season.
  • They have made the equal-most amount of tackles, with 441 this season.
  • Stacey Fluhler has scored 31 tries this season, has made four of the five HSBC Dream Teams and twice been named DHL Impact Player of the Tournament and Player of the Final.
  • Kelly Brazier has made two of the five HSBC Dream Teams and surpassed 500 points for the Black Ferns Sevens this season. She also brought up her 30th World Series tournament.

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