Wednesday, May 22, 2024

New Zealand wins women’s and men’s Singapore 7s finals; Argentina takes men’s regular season title

Must read

SINGAPORE (AP) — New Zealand won back-to-back doubles to close out the regular season in the world rugby sevens series, adding the men’s and women’s Singapore titles on Sunday to their dual successes last month in Hong Kong.

Michaela Blyde scored a hat-trick in the 31-21 win over Australia in the women’s final, giving the New Zealanders a fourth consecutive title in the series and top spot in the regular season standings — two points clear of their trans-Tasman rivals.

Dylan Collier’s All Blacks Sevens held off Ireland 17-14 in the men’s final to move into third place in the season standings. Argentina, despite placing fifth in Singapore, held on to clinch its first regular-season title in the global sevens series.

The top eight teams after the regular season have secured places in the 2025 series and will head to the season finals starting May 31 in Madrid to play off for gold. The teams ranked 9th to 12th will go into playoffs in Madrid for core places in the 2025 series.

After the season finale in Madrid, the Olympic sevens tournament in Paris takes priority.

The New Zealand teams are going to the Olympics in July in hot form.

The women closed the regular world sevens series with consecutive titles in Vancouver, Las Vegas, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Blyde scored in the first and last minutes of the first half of the final and added a third as her team regained the lead after trailing Australia 14-12 at the break.

Jorja Miller set Portia Woodman on course for a try that extended New Zealand’s lead and also created a try for Stacey Waaka that secured the win.

Miller, voted player of the final, said the New Zealanders were well aware of the significance of the Singapore stop.

“It’s been a rollercoaster,” she said. “We know what we need to do to peak at the right time, so it’s nice to see it paying off.”

New Zealand skipper Risi Pouri-Lane said her team had been building toward a peak.

“There’s still two big events coming up — in Madrid and then Olympics,” she said. “So we’ve got to keep building, keep that consistency.”

New Zealand finished with 126 points, two clear of Australia and 22 clear of third-place France, which beat Fiji 29-7 in the third-place playoff in Singapore.

The U.S. women placed fourth in the season standings on 85 points, despite slumping to 10th place in Singapore following a run to the final in Hong Kong.

Britain went into the weekend needing to perform well to finish in the top eight in the men’s and women’s competitions.

The British women did just enough to secure eighth, holding off Brazil and Japan, and the men edged the U.S. men’s team by one point for eighth place in the standings by beating Australia 26-7 in the third-place playoff in Singapore.

The British men lost a semifinal 15-12 to Ireland after it finished 12-12 in regular time, leaving the Irish with a slim chance of finish top of the standings.

But Argentina, which beat New Zealand in the group stage on Friday, ensured it would finish No. 1 when it rallied from a 10-0 deficit to beat South Africa 14-10 in the fifth-place playoff.

Ireland placed second, followed by New Zealand, Australia and Fiji, the two-time Olympic gold medlist.

Argentina was well clear in the standings after the first four of seven stops in the regular season, opening with a run to the final in Dubai before winning three straight titles. In the end, Argentina held off Ireland by two points after failing to reach the semifinals in the last three tournaments.

“The journey was really difficult. We kept on trying, kept on training, kept on believing in this team and I think we have the prize that we deserve,” Argentina captain Gaston Revol said. “It’s incredible to be here at this moment.”

___

AP rugby: https://apnews.com/hub/rugby

Latest article