Sydney Sevens: New Zealand strikes twice, USA claims fourth straight silver


Story highlights

  • New Zealand 21-5 USA in Sydney final
  • Second title of 2018-19 for All Blacks
  • Black Ferns win means NZ secure double

(CNN)A new tournament, but the same result for the USA rugby sevens team, who fell to a fourth straight cup final defeat at the Sydney Sevens on Sunday.

For the second time this season, New Zealand got the better of the Eagles in a World Rugby Sevens Series gold medal encounter. The 21-5 victory for the All Blacks sees them tie with the USA at the top of the overall standings.
    The wait for silverware goes on for Mike Friday's team -- which previously also fell at the final hurdle in Dubai, Cape Town, and Hamilton -- after tries from Regan Ware, Sam Dickson, and Tone Ng Shiu handed the All Blacks victory with Brett Thompson producing a late reply for the USA.
    "We are once again hugely disappointed with the result after a very attritional and exhausting second day where we had to scrap for everything," said Eagles' head coach Mike Friday.
    "The final as expected was a hugely physical affair and whilst we did control the ball for good periods, unfortunately we made some errors which let the New Zealand team build scores in the first half."
    Wins over France, Kenya and rival Canada saw USA reach the knockout stages, before getting the better of Spain and England to reach Sunday's showpiece.
    Defeat in the final means the Eagles once again share the spoils at the top of the overall standings, although this time with the All Blacks following Fiji's fourth-place finish in Sydney.
    While agonizing, another runner-up berth ensures the USA continues its best ever start to a season. Last year saw just one podium finish -- a gold medal in Las Vegas, where the men's circuit heads next.
    "We need to get some perspective as well in how well as a squad we are performing," said Friday.
    "We are sitting top of the table going into Vegas and our aim to be in the top four at the end of the season, but we are hungry for cup wins along the way."
    The All Blacks proved themselves to be the dominant force in Sydney, and sent out a big statement with a six-try, 36-14 victory over Fiji in the semifinals. Victory over the USA was their seventh sevens title on Australian soil.
    Kurt Baker celebrates scoring against Fiji at the Sydney Sevens semifinal.
    Having secured Commonwealth and World Cup gold medals in 2018, New Zealand will be keen to replicate that success in the World Series having not taken the overall title since 2014.
    "I thought we played extremely well over the past two days apart from a slow start yesterday morning," said head coach Clark Laidlaw.
    "To execute as well as we did in those last two games is really pleasing and shows the huge amount of belief this team has."

    Double delight for New Zealand

    In the women's competition, there was a repeat of last year's final with Australia meeting New Zealand.
    This year, however, the result was overturned with the Black Ferns defeating the home favorite 34-10, completing New Zealand's double in Sydney.
    Michaela Blyde led the scoring with a second-half hat-trick in the final, along with scores from Stacey Waaka and Shakira Baker to hand the Black Ferns a comprehensive victory and a third-straight World Series title this season.
    The Black Ferns perform the haka after beating Australia in New Zealand.
    "It doesn't get much harder than beating Australia in Australia, and we hadn't won the Sydney event before so it's a great moment," said coach Allan Bunting.
    "This weekend has definitely tested our depth and it has been really pleasing to see everyone step up and put in performances they can be proud of."
      Midway through the season, the result puts New Zealand in the driving seat to regain the overall title from Australia. Victories in Glendale, Dubai, and Sydney put them 12 points clear of second-place USA.
      The women's Series resumes in Kitakyushu, Japan, on April 20.