Rugby Sevens: NZ men win twice, while Black Ferns split matches with Australia as Olympic preparations begin

The New Zealand men's and women's seven's teams have made a productive start to their trans-Tasman series as they begin preparation for the Tokyo Olympics. 

The New Zealand teams have been primarily limited to intrasquad matches with the IRB World Series suspended during COVID-19 over the past 12 months. 

The men and women's teams will play each other six times over the next three days with action on Friday and Sunday taking place from Grammar TEC, while Saturday's encounter will be held at Eden Park. 

The Black Ferns kicked off proceedings in the morning with a comprehensive 19-0 victory where they ran out their strongest side. 

Ruby Tui and Michaela Blyde - two tries each - stole the show for New Zealand, who pounced on the visitors errors to run in a three try to zero victory. 

The New Zealand men's team fielded a strong lineup in their opening game that saw Scott Curry, Tim Mikkelson, Dylan Collier, Andrew Knewstubb, Regan Ware, Joe Webber and Sione Molia start. 

A tight first half saw New Zealand take a slender 7-0 advantage into the break thanks to a long-distance try to Collier to break the deadlock. 

Amanaki Nicole extended New Zealand's lead early in the second half after a bone-crunching tackle from Mickleson dislodged the ball, before Nicole sprinted clear. 

Australia got a late consolation try to Pama Fou, but it was too little too late as New Zealand ran away 14-5 winners. 

The Black Ferns had the early game in the afternoon as they hunted their second win of the day against their trans-Tasman neighbours. 

They came out of the box fast with Shiray Kaka showing her strength and speed to beat the Australian defensive line to grab the opening try. 

Australia hit back with three tries in three minutes through Madison Higgins-Ashby - who got a double -  and Shannon Parry to open up a 19-5 lead at the break. 

The Black Ferns stormed out in the second half with two quick tries through Kaka and Jazmin Hotham to set up a grandstand finish, but it wasn't to be as Australia hung on to level the series. 

The second men's match was a tight affair, but New Zealand showed their class to run away 26-21 winners. 

Ngarohi McGarvey-Black opened the scoring inside 50 seconds for New Zealand as he used his size and speed to break through the Australian defence. 

Australia hit back straight away through speedster Nick Chapman before New Zealand's big name players Caleb Clarke and Etene Nanai-Seturo raced over for two quick tries to take a 19-14 lead into the break.

Andrew Knewstubb extended New Zealand lead arly in the second half when he capped off a great team try, before  Fou grabbed his second try of the day to set up a tense finish.

New Zealand hung on for their second tight victory to take confidence into day two of the tournament.

All four teams will move to Eden Park to play matches before and after the Blues v Waratahs  Super Rugby Trans-Tasman  match.