Tyla King of the Sevens Scoring Castle

Tyla King

New Zealand topped Pool A with three wins in three matches outscoring their opponents 119-12 to set up a quarter-final appointment with Ireland at 7:36 am NZT..

The All Blacks Sevens weren’t so fortunate. After a gritty 10-7 win against Samoa, New Zealand fell to hosts USA 28-19 to be consigned to the playoff for 9th and 12th. New Zealand ended the day positively with a 19-7 win over Canada and will play Samoa for 9th at 9:10 am NZT.

The Black Ferns Sevens

Tyla King became the leading women's scorer in SVNS history passing Ghislaine Landry (1,356 points) in New Zealand’s 40-0 win over Brazil.

King was nine points shy of Landry heading into the tournament. King equaled the tally of the Canadian with a conversion of Michaela Blyde's second try just before halftime and broke it with a try of her own seconds later, after the siren. 

At a restart, King nudged the ball a smidgen over the Brazilian ten-metre mark. Portia Woodman-Wickliffe soared above her opposite and secured the ball in two hands. In a determined charge, Woodman-Wickliffe dragged three defenders with her to the 22 before offloading to Jazmin Felix-Hotham. Felix-Hotham hoisted a long pass towards the left wing that skidded across the greasy surface and was recovered by Blyde.

Blyde wriggled an offload in the grasp of two defenders to King who slipped but collected on her knees and hurried a pass to Shiray Kaka. Kaka shoved out of two tackles and was toppled at the 22, pushing a pass to Tenika Willison who replicated the pass of King moments earlier. Back on her feet, King straightened the Black Ferns' attacking line and distributed to Flex-Hotham in midfield.

Felix-Hotham slung a more accurate pass to the right edge where Woodman-Wickliffe steamed clear and made a beeline for the posts. Five metres shy of the paint Woodman-Wickliffe unselfishly slipped a gentle pass to King and King dived over unopposed with a grin Hollywood producers could use in the movies.

"It's pretty awesome, especially when most of those points have come from the right boot and not scoring tries. I don't think I've scored that many in my career,” King reflected.

“I think it’s been awesome programming in the first place by the New Zealand management over the years to be able to keep us girls healthy and out there. Obviously, I’ve had my fair few injuries over the years and missed a couple of seasons here or there (but) I think just having that pure love for the game too, and wanting to stay competitive with young ones has kept me driven.”

In the routine dispatching of Brazil, Blyde ended with a hattrick while Woodman-Wickliffe and Willison also crossed the stripe with King adding four conversions. 

A 38-7 win over Fiji followed the milestone King match. Blyde (2), Jorja Miller, Kaka, Risi Pouri-Lane, and Mahina Paul scored New Zealand's six tries.

Paul has 17 tries in her SVNS career and is growing in stature with increasing minutes. Pouri-Lane has been industrious in the tight exchanges and Kaka is in rare form.

King ended the day with 1,369 points in 46 events. She has scored 53 tries and kicked 552 goals. 

The Black Ferns Sevens quarter-final opponents Ireland emerged from Pool B as one of the two best third-place qualifiers. The Perth champions beat Japan 26-12 after defeats to series leaders Australia (0-31) and France (5-21).

All Blacks Sevens

After a 24-19 loss to Australia in their first game the All Blacks Sevens needed a win to start day two and duly obliged against Samoa.

New Zealand led 10-0 at halftime but were forced into long tackling periods in the second half to secure victory.

Joe Webber scored both tries against Samoa with Amanaki Nicole having a hand in each score. Initially, he fired a 20-metre skip pass to Webber moving onto the ball at a brisk speed. Webber stepped past the stranded last defender and dotted down on the left wing.  

Nicole then busted towards the Samoan 22 before linking with Andrew Knewstubb who offloaded to Webber. Samoa’s solitary try was scored by Tom Maiava who played club rugby in New Zealand for Tawa in Wellington and Hautapu Sports in Hamilton. Taunuu Niulevaea kicked a conversion.

New Zealand made a dream start against the USA pilfering the opening kick-off and sending Scott Curry away for his 129th SVNS try. Soon, however, things unrivaled when Perry Baker took control.

The 37-year-old once recorded 10.58 in the 100 metres. He’s scored 279 SVNS tries and bagged two in quick succession to have New Zealand reeling. His first effort was a 90-metre stunner.

USA led 21-7 at halftime when Joe Schroeder scored. The burly and creative Schroeder was a handful.

Webber scored only seconds into the second half, but hopes of a comeback were dashed when Malacchi Esdale restored the margin. Unfortunately, in the lead-up to his try, an obvious forward pass was missed by the officials. 

Roderick Solo, recovering from injury, came off the bench and had the last say after the All Blacks Sevens explored both touchlines and manipulated an opening on the right flak.

Being out of Cup contention does afford New Zealand greater liberty to audition younger talent. After conceding the first try to Josiah Morra (60 SVNS tries) it was Xavier Tito-Harris who shined brightest in the 19-7 win against Canada. Tito-Harris scored two tries and delivered the pass that led to Che Clarke crossing.

The first try by Tito-Harris saw him spin 360 degrees past a defender and over the line.

Tito-Harris is a product of the 2021 Kelston Boys’ High School First XV that went 18-0 and won the 1A Auckland title for the first time since 1998. In five tournaments, he has scored eight tries.


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