Hamilton 7s Day 2: No Surprises Really

NZ Being Presented their trophy

Sunday started as advertised with two games ultimately deciding who would qualify for the top 4. The first game, Canada vs France (because of their points differential) was just to determine which of those two teams would have to play New Zealand in a semi-final. Canada would hang on to win 21 – 19 with a missed conversion by the French after the final whistle separating the two teams.

The second game, Australia vs the USA was for a top-four finish. Australia managed to hang on 19 – 14 and qualify for the semi-finals for the 4th consecutive tournament. Ellia Green scored all of Australia’s try’s including this pearler.

It looked like Australia emptied the tank in this game knowing a top-four finish was on the line. This may have proved costly later in the tournament with Australia ultimately finishing fourth. But we’ll discuss that in a minute.

New Zealand made fairly light work of Fiji. They piled on 38 points to Fiji’s 21. Stacy Fluhler (nee Waaka) showed that even though she’s sporting a new last name she’s still the same player. She picked up a hattrick and did it with a big smile on her face.

Semi-Finals

The first semi-final between Australia and Canada was always going to be tight. Coming into the game Canada had beaten Australia in 5 of the last 6 meetings they’ve had in finals games. It was a real old fashioned shootout with the two teams matching each other try for try. The ever-dangerous Green and tireless captain Sharni Williams run tries in for Australia. While Bianca Farella and Kayla Moleschi ran tries in for Canada. Australia looked to have the edge with 3 minutes to go when (up until this game) the seldom-used Dom Du Toit produced this 5 pointer.

But Canada would prove too strong making the most of their opportunities late in the game with Charity Williams and Chislane Landry running in two late tries to pull away 28 – 12.

The second semi-final between New Zealand and France was initially an arm wrestle. The New Zealanders took the lead for the first time just before half-time, through a Theresa Fitzpatrick try.  Camille Grassineau levelled the score and a successful conversion pulled the French in front 7 – 5 with 2 minutes to go. But, as the Black Ferns 7s are known to do they ran in two late tries from Fluhler and Brazier to win 19 – 7 and book their spot in the gold medal game.

Bronze Medal Game

France got off to a flyer with tries in quick succession to Lina Guerin and Shannon Izar. With France leading 14 – 0 for the first time in the tournament Australia looked to its young bench unleashing Faith Nathan (who had subbed into the squad for Emilee Cherry) and Rhiannon Byers just before half-time. A move that paid dividends, with Nathan scoring right on half-time, in front of her extended family (who hail from New Zealand). The French took a 14 – 7 lead into the half-time break.

Australia would once again look to its bench in this game with Du Toit, Hayes and Sykes all checking into the game after half-time. The game went back and forth for most of the 2nd half until Coralie Bertrand went over with 2 minutes to go. Demi Hayes then produced this with a nice show and step off the right foot.

Ultimately it was a little late, with this try coming after the bell. It does, however, beg the question why didn’t we see more of the bench throughout the pool stages? Australia wound up losing to France 19 – 14 and had to settle for 4th place.

Gold Medal Game

Canada came in pretty hot, riding strong form throughout the tournament and looking to earn their first gold medal in the 2019 – 2020 series. Scoring first through Brittany Benn and converted by Chislane Landry Canada would hold a 7 – 0 lead for all of 2 minutes. Sadly (for Canada), it was all one-way traffic from that point on. Michaela Blyde picked up the first of her two tries on the half time bell and scores were even at 7 – 7 going into half-time.

The second half was all New Zealand with Michaela Blyde running in her 2nd try in as many minutes. This gave New Zealand their first lead of the game. This was quickly followed by tries to Niall Williams and Stacey Fluhler. Canada looked like they may have played their “Grand Final” the game before against Australia. They just seemed to run out of puff. However, New Zealand were clinical in front of their home crowd and ran away 24 – 7 winners. This is the moment they won it clearly meant a lot to them.

And this spine-tingling Haka to celebrate.

What a way to finish in front of their home crowd, congratulations New Zealand.

Standings

[tabgroup layout=”horizontal”]
[tab title=”Final Hamilton 7s Standings”]

  1. New Zealand – 20 Points
  2. Canada – 18 Points
  3. France – 16 Points
  4. Australia – 14 Points
  5. USA – 12 Points
  6. England – 10 Points
  7. Russia – 8 Points
  8. Fiji – 6 Points
  9. China – 4 Points
  10. Spain – 3 Points
  11. Ireland – 2 Points
  12. Brazil – 1 Point[/tab]

[tab title=”Series Standings”]

  1. New Zealand – 76 Points
  2. Australia – 64 Points
  3. Canada – 62 Points
  4. USA – 60 Points
  5. France – 56 Points
  6. Russia – 32 Points
  7. England – 26 Points
  8. Fiji – 26 Points
  9. Spain – 25 Points
  10. Ireland – 13 Points
  11. Brazil – 11 Points
  12. China – 4 Points
  13. Japan – 4 Points
  14. South Africa – 3 Points[/tab]

[/tabgroup]

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