Double gold for New Zealand in Hong Kong

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The All Blacks Sevens last won in Hong Kong in 2014, last playing in a final in 2016.

With three tournaments in the men's series left, Singapore, Toulouse and London, New Zealand is 21 points ahead of Argentina, with Fiji third, 29 points back.

In the women's series, only one tournament remains in Toulouse, and New Zealand is on track to complete another overall win being 16 points ahead of second-placed Australia. Of the six tournaments played, the Black Ferns have won five and finished second in the other.

The All Blacks Sevens placed pressure on Fiji from the kick-off, and Sione Molia forced a knock-on five metres out from the Fiji line. The ball was moved wide via a long pass from Amanaki Nicole for Cody Vai to score after 26 seconds.

Smothering Fiji in their 22m, the All Blacks Sevens were calculated in their approach and quickly targeted Fijian hesitancy. That worked halfway through the spell when pressure at a scrum close to the line by Rokolisoa allowed Molia to swoop onto the ball, under advantage, to score.

Fiji again failed to make the most of a penalty from the restart, knocking the ball on, and from the scrum, Ngarohi Garvey-Black put a kick to the in-goal, and Leroy Carter raced to score millimetres short of the dead ball line – his fifth try of the tournament.

Fiji responded better with a stunning length-of-the-field try for Vuiviwa Naduvalu a minute out from halftime.

But after the halftime siren, New Zealand kept the ball alive, and after 80 extra seconds Carter, on the sideline, threw an inside pass to Dylan Collier. He took the tackle and fed Garvey-Black for a run at the corner to give them a 24-7 lead at the turn.

Fiji scored first in the second half when Joseva Talacolo crossed, a move in which Nicole was sin-binned. However, Fiji couldn't take advantage before he returned, and it was only on the final whistle that they scored through Talacolo again, but it was too late.

In the women's final, Australia scored first with a break by Bienne Terita. While Michaela Blyde covered, the Australians worked the ball, and it was Terita who scored. However, she blotted her copybook after New Zealander Kelly Brazier toed the ball ahead, benefitting from an Australian knockdown. But in goal, Terita tackled Brazier to prevent her from diving on the ball to score.

A penalty try was awarded, and Terita was sin-binned.

The effect was immediate as New Zealand won a penalty at the breakdown. Tyla Nathan-Wong saw the Australian defence out of alignment to lob a kick wide, and Stacey Waaka ran onto the ball to score unchallenged.

But just on the halftime siren, Australia won a breakdown turnover with a counter ruck and 45 seconds later scored.

Waaka had the ball knocked out of her hand in diving for the opening second-half try. Australia was given the scrum feed, but a big Black Ferns scrum turned the ball over, won the counter ruck, and the ball was moved wide for Michaela Blyde to score.

Sariah Paki reduced the margin to 21-17 when running away from Brazier with just over a minute remaining. But New Zealand responded with a classy break by Jorja Miller, allowing Sarah Hirini to give Waaka a chance to put her footwork to use to score the final try.

Hirini said afterwards, "I love playing Australia, they make us a better team and they have been playing well all season but it was a pretty scrappy game and lots of mistakes but I was just glad Stacey finished it in the corner."

The All Blacks Sevens beat France 12-7 when their defence, a feature of their tournament, held out a French scrum feed five metres out from their line to secure the ball and win. Lewis Ormond and McGarvey-Black scored tries for New Zealand.

The Black Ferns beat Fiji 31-5 to take their place in the final, helped by two crucial lineout steals by Hirini that kept the pressure on Fiji. Blyde, Waaka, Miller and Portia Woodman-Wickliffe (2) scored tries.


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