New Zealand teams progress to the final four in Vancouver

Sam Dickson WEB

The All Blacks Sevens faced elimination from Pool Play earlier in the day but overpowered previously unbeaten Great Britain 26-5 before eliminating Fiji 21-19 in a thriller. 

Black Ferns Sevens

The Black Ferns Sevens will play hosts Canada in the semi-final of the Vancouver Sevens after demolishing Spain 36-0 in the quarters.

Spain last beat New Zealand in 2015 and hasn't scored a single point against the Black Ferns since 2019. This was their first appearance in a Cup SVNS quarter-final this season.

After Shiray Kaka had opened New Zealand's account with a second-minute try, Tyla King grubbered and regathered to set the platform for Michaela Blyde to touch down on the left wing. Blyde has scored a tournament-leading seven tries. King has been pin-point with restarts and has converted 13 of the Black Ferns 24 tries. 

Kaka jinked and pushed through the Spanish at halfway for her second to make it 17-0 at halftime. 

Spain tackled bravely but struggled to exit their own half with possession. 

The Black Ferns bench added desired impact with non-starters Mahina Paul and Jasmine Felix-Hotham scoring tries. Paul used power to create her moment on the scoresheet, Felix-Hotham split the defence open and went 50 meters. Jorja Miller scored the other try. Miller and Felix-Hotham have each scored 30 SVNS tries.

Earlier New Zealand sealed their place in the quarter-finals with an emphatic 43-5 win over Perth champions Ireland to top Pool A.

The New Zealanders immediately took control of the contest when Shiray Kaka snuck down the blindside off a close-range scrum in the opening minute.

Risi Pouri-Lane has provided the most try assists in the tournament, her combination with Michaela Blyde especially damaging. The skipper showed she can run, step, and fend too and completed a first-half double.

Ireland scored first in the second half with Beibhinn Parsons showing Portia Woodman-Wickliffe a clean set of heels on the outside.

However, any hopes of an Irish revival were dashed when Blyde burst clear shortly afterward for her second try of the match. Tysha Ikenasio has brought energy and bustle from the bench and was awarded with a try along with Jorja Miller back from a red card suspension in Perth. 

In the other quarter finals Canada beat USA 12-10, France beat Brazil 24-5 and series leaders Australia outlasted Fiji 35-19. Aussie superstar Charlotte Caslick, who even appears on the back of buses in New Zealand, is playing her 50th SVNS tournament.

All Blacks Sevens

The All Blacks Sevens were in danger of missing the quarters at the start of the day when they resided in third place in Pool C heading into their last encounter with Great Britain.

New Zealand stormed out of the gate to take a 21-0 lead inside the opening three minutes against Great Britain with Akuila Rokolisoa running in a masterful double along with Sam Dickson collecting a kickoff rebound and outlasting the retreating chasers. 

Great Britain scored first to start the second stanza to raise hopes of a comeback but ill-discipline proved costly and a yellow card thwarted their hopes.

Dickson has been a Trojan in black and close to full-time he scored his 100th try after 69 SVNS tournaments. Nifty lead-up work by Weeber, celebrating his 50th SVNS tournament, released Fehi Fineanganofo down the right wing. Fineanganofo was run down by the cover defense but delivered a ripper of an offload for Dickson's special moment. He is the 13th New Zealand player to score 100 tries.

The quarter-final was a typically gripping struggle against Fiji. Rokolisoa was elusive early but Fiji led at halftime following tries by Pillipo Bukayaro and Rere Ropate.

New Zealand was composed and aggressive. Constructive attacks that stretched both touchlines saw  Joe Webber and Sam Dickson score tries to establish a healthy advantage. Fiji rallied late but remain without a Cup title for over 18 months.

The All Blacks Sevens play France in their semi-final on Monday at 10:07am NZT. The Black Ferns Sevens clash with Canada at 9:01am NZT.


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