Rugby: Three Black Ferns stars feature in Seven World Series team of the year

Black Ferns trio Nathan-Wong, Stacey Fluhler and Ruby Tui have been named in the women's 'Dream Team' - the Sevens World Series team of the year.

Co-captain Scott Curry  was the sole All Blacks Sevens player named in the men's team.

Both New Zealand sides were officially crowned overall champions of the COVID-19 disrupted World Series season on Tuesday morning.

Nathan-Wong was also recognised for becoming the second women’s player to score 1000 series points with the 'Mark of Excellence'.

Fluhler was named 'Impact Player', which rates players on all-round performances measured against four key criteria - offloads, carries, line-breaks and tackles.

"On behalf of World Rugby I would like to congratulate all 24 women's and men's HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2020 award winners," World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont says.

"Although the series this year was forced to conclude early there was no shortage of speed, skill and spectacular tries on display from players and teams.

"Combined with unpredictable and awe-inspiring moments that embody the values of the game, it remind us that rugby sevens is a truly unique and thrilling sport, that will once again showcase itself to the worldwide audience at the Olympic Games in Tokyo next year."

Fluher says receiving her award is a "massive honour".

"I do so on behalf of my team - I wouldn't be able to be out there scoring tries if they weren't working hard in the middle of the field," she says.

"While we were gutted the season ended the way it did there were lots of highlights, like playing in South Africa for the first time and hosting all the teams in Hamilton."

Black Ferns Sevens co-coach Cory Sweeney says it feels surreal being awarded the World Series trophy on the training field at Blake Park in Tauranga.

"It’s not quite the same as being in Paris to receive the awards, but its really important, given what’s happening at the moment, that we take a moment to celebrate what has been achieved," he notes.

Black Ferns skipper Sarah Hirini, co-coach Cory Sweeney and All Blacks sevens co-captains Tim Mikkelson and Scott Curry
Black Ferns skipper Sarah Hirini, co-coach Cory Sweeney and All Blacks sevens co-captains Tim Mikkelson and Scott Curry Photo credit: Supplied

All Blacks Sevens Coach Clark Laidlaw echoed Sweeney’s sentiments, reflecting on the team’s last tournament in Vancouver in March and getting home just a week before borders were closed.

“"his year has been surreal." Laidlaw says.

"We were playing well, won three of the six tournaments and made another final, so it feels a bit strange winning the World Series when we didn’t get to finish the season, but in saying that we are extremely proud of how we prepared and played."

With the borders still closed there is growing uncertainty around upcoming scheduling, but Laidlaw says there are promising signs.

"Getting back playing overseas will be tricky but we are excited about some internal sevens later in the year, Oceania are working really hard to create tournaments at the start of next year and hopefully the World Series will be back up and running in April."

Women's 'Dream Team':

  • Brittany Benn (Canada)
  • Sharni Williams (Australia)
  • Ruby Tui (New Zealand)
  • Stacey Fluhler (New Zealand)
  • Ghislaine Landry (Canada)
  • Tyla Nathan-Wong (New Zealand)
  • Kristi Kirshe (USA)

Men's 'Dream Team':

  • Scott Curry (New Zealand)
  • Tavite Veredamu (France)
  • JC Pretorius (South Africa)
  • Napolioni Bolaca (Fiji)
  • Jordan Conroy (Ireland)
  • Aminiasi Tuimaba (Fiji)
  • Selvyn Davids (South Africa)