Birmingham Commonwealth Games: All Blacks, Black Ferns Sevens chasing double-gold repeat

From superheroes to royalty, the New Zealand rugby sevens teams are on a mission to defend their gold medals from four years ago.

They kick off their campaigns on the opening night of the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games.

All Blacks Sevens after winning gold at Gold Coast.
All Blacks Sevens after winning gold at Gold Coast. Photo credit: Photosport

The defending champion men's and women's sides are practically rugby royalty and are used to making history, just perhaps not studying it, as they make Warwick Castle their home.

"I think it was, nah hang on," All Blacks Sevens star Joe Webber replied when quizzed about the historic building.

"Built in the nine hundreds, it is still standing and the sun's out, so I'm pretty stoked," Black Ferns Sevens captain Sarah Hirini said.

Both teams look relaxed and refreshed, with their strategy to defend their gold medals already underway.

"We've been up in Scotland for a week and a bit, so to be up there kinda close to the Commonwealth Games but a little bit away has been really nice," Hirini said.

Webber has endured a gruelling eight-year wait after injury forced him out of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

"Yeah man, gutted to be ruled out the day before," he said. "Especially because they won gold. Still cool to watch them but I'm just looking forward to this weekend."

Warwick Castle is steeped in history, much like the All Blacks Sevens at the Commonwealth Games, having only ever lost one game.

"That was in 2014 in the final and it's more about not wanting to let the old boys down," Webber said.

Karl Te Nana is one of those old boys, having contributed to New Zealand's legacy for gold, as champions five out of six Commonwealth Games.

"Pretty rich history and I know the lads and ladies are aware of that," Te Nana said. "They want to add their legacy to that over the weekend."

Hirini echoed Te Nana's comments and is optimistic both teams can achieve a famous repeat.

"Hopefully we can do the double again here in Birmingham," she said. "Be pretty amazing times for NZ rugby."

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