HAMILTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand has won the women’s and Argentina has won the men’s finals at the Hamilton Sevens tournament, shaking up the standings after the fourth round of the World Sevens Series.
New Zealand beat the United States 33-7 in the women’s final, defending the title they won when the Hamilton tournament last was a part of the World Series three years ago.
The New Zealand men narrowly failed to defend the title they won in 2020, losing 14-12 to Argentina after leading 12-0 at halftime.
Pandemic border restrictions have meant the tournament has not been part of the World Series since 2020.
Michaela Blyde scored three tries in the final for the New Zealand women who were dominant all week in their tournament. While New Zealand scored five tries to one in the final, it’s win was due mainly to outstanding defense and it conceded only two tries in six matches at the tournament.
Tries to Blyde and Jazmin Felix-Hotham gave second-seeded New Zealand a 14-0 lead at halftime over the third seeded United States, which had earlier beaten top-seeded Australia in the semifinals. Blyde scored two more tries in the second half to clinch the win and take her tally for the tournament to 11. The last try of the match went to New Zealand veteran Portia Woodman.
“It feels amazing to be able to win in out home town,” New Zealand captain Sarah Hirini said. “Our fans have all turned up over the last couple of weeks and we appreciate the support.”
The New Zealand men overcame a yellow card in the first half to lead Argentina by two tries to nil at halftime in the men’s final.
Akiula Rokolisoa galloped away to finish a length of the field try while New Zealand was down to six men and to send New Zealand to halftime with a 12-0 lead.
But Argentina rallied superbly in the second half with tries to Santiago Alvarez and Marco Moneta to snatch only their second win in eight finals against New Zealand.
New Zealand appeared to have snatched the match in injury time when Brady Rush won the race to a kick behind the Argentina goal line but the television official correctly determined the ball had been knocked on.
I’m so happy, I’m so happy,” Argentina captain Gaston Revol said. “Beating New Zealand in New Zealand is history and we just broke history.”
The New Zealand men and women now lead the respective standings after four World Series rounds.
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