New Zealand Wins Back-To-Back Men’s Rugby, Retains Rugby World Cup Sevens Women’s Crown

New Zealand World Cup Rugby Champions
New Zealand World Cup Rugby Champions

By Benjamin Blum

New Zealand’s men’s rugby sevens team retained its World Cup title and completed a Kiwi sweep after defeating England 33-12 on Sunday.

Similarly, the women’s Rugby World Cup Sevens trophy will remain in Kiwi hands after New Zealand successfully defended its title with a 29-0 win over France on Saturday.

For men, Sione Molia scored a pair of tries, while Joe Ravouvou Akuila Rokolisoa and Trael Joass each added one apiece. Kurt Baker kicked three conversions and Scott Curry kicked one. Curry was named the AIG Player of the Final, while Ravouvou earned the UL Mark of Excellence Award.

Mike Ellery and Ruaridh McConnochie scored England’s tries, with Tom Mitchell kicking one conversion.

New Zealand’s women’s team also repeated as champions on Saturday, defeating France 29-0. The country’s men’s and women’s 15s teams are also the current World Cup title holders.

Canadian men finish in 12th place

Pat Kay and Isaac Kaay scored for Canada, while veteran Nate Hirayama left the pitch in the second half on concussion protocol according to Rugby Canada. Captain Harry Jones missed the final game due to a head injury assessment.

Earlier, the men’s squad couldn’t muster enough offence against Australia, losing 19-7 in the Challenge Trophy Canada’s men’s team wrapped up its tournament with a 35-12 loss to Wales. With the result, the Canadian team placed 12th overall at the tournament.

Australia’s sustained pressure with ball in hand put Canada on the defensive, while the team’s physical play at the breakdown forced several turnovers in a messy match. Lucas Hammond scored the lone try for Canada, while Hirayama added the conversion.

Michaela Blyde led the way for the Black Ferns with a hat trick. Portia Woodman and Tyla Nathan-Wong also tallied tries in the final.

Both New Zealand’s women’s and men’s teams won the previous Rugby World Cup Sevens in 2013. The country is also the reigning World Cup champion in the men’s and women’s 15-a-side game.

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Australia finished with bronze after defeating the United States 24-14.

In the men’s tournament, the U.S. was ousted 24-19 in extra time by England in front of a raucous crowd filled with supporters of both sides. The English will face South Africa, who upended Scotland 36-5, on Sunday at 3:40 p.m. ET/12:40 p.m. PT.

The other semifinal pits Fiji against New Zealand at 4:02 p.m. ET/1:02 p.m. PT. The reigning World Cup Champion All Blacks held off France 12-7, while the flying Fijians delighted their countless supporters with a 43-7 win over Argentina.

Canadian men rebound with win

The Canadian men’s rugby sevens team bounced back on Saturday at the Rugby World Cup Sevens with a 35-17 win over Japan.

Justin Douglas and Matt Mullins each scored twice for Canada, while Nate Hirayama added one of his own in addition to five successful conversion kicks.

“We were obviously really disappointed with how yesterday [against Argentina] went, not necessarily with the result but I think more how the game went,” Hirayama said about Friday’s 28-0 loss in the round of 16.

“Our full focus was to come out here and have control of the game and take the game into our own hands.”

Following the win, Hirayama caught up with a fan of his from Japan who shares the same last name as him. The two met eight years ago at a World Rugby Sevens Series tournament in Hong Kong.

“We’re not related by any means, but I see her every year and she’s someone who I really look forward to seeing,” the Canadian veteran said.

The men’s squad will face Australia in Sunday’s Challenge Trophy consolation semifinals at 2:12 p.m. ET/11:12 a.m. PT.

Women’s squad finishes 7th

Canada’s women’s team wrapped up its World Cup with a 22-10 win over Russia to place seventh overall.

Caroline Crossley, Ghislaine Landry, Natasha Watcham-Roy and Bianca Farella each scored a try for Canada in their final match of the tournament.

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“There’s a lot of character in our team,” head coach John Tait said.

Earlier, Canada lost 26-14 to a Spanish squad that kept the ball out of Canadian hands for long stretches. Farella and Landry scored Canada’s two tries in the second half of that match.

“If you come out flat-footed, other teams will make you pay for your mistakes and I think we just let off a gas a little and Spain did a good job of executing on our errors,” said Canadian veteran Britt Benn, whose back-and-forth passing with Farella led to a try.