Rugby Sevens: NZ sevens eye Hong Kong sweep after advancing to men's, women's finals

New Zealand's Sevens sides have put themselves in prime position to defend their Hong Kong Sevens titles, with both the men and women advancing to Sunday evening's finals (NZ time).  

Black Ferns Sevens and All Blacks Sevens both got the better of Australia in their respective semi-finals, with the women prevailing 28-14 and the men closing out a comfortable 26-7 victory soon afterwards.

The NZ women will face USA in the final at 10:13pm, Sunday, followed by the NZ men against France at 10:53pm. 

The All Blacks Sevens finished top of pool B after beating the USA 12-7 in their final pool match on Saturday afternoon with tries to Tone Ng Shiu and rising star Xavier Tito-Harris.  

The Kiwi men rode that momentum into their quarterfinal with Fiji, scoring in the opening minute before the Olympic gold medalists struck back to take a 12-7 lead into the break.  

However, that didn't knock the confidence of the New Zealand, who kept their opponents scoreless after the break, as Tone Ng Shiu and Xavier Tito-Harris dotted down in back-to-back games to secure the 19-12 victory and a semifinal berth.  

Meanwhile, after cruising past both Great Britain and Brazil on day one, the Black Ferns Sevens started day two with a shock loss to France 26-21 in their final group game.   

New Zealand’s Stacey Waaka runs in a try.
New Zealand’s Stacey Waaka runs in a try. Photo credit: Photosport

The Ferns were leading 21-12 with six minutes remaining thanks to a first half double for Michaela Blyde and a second half score for Stacey Waaka, however, France quickly hit back with two tries in two minutes to cut the deficit to 21-19.  

France's Séraphine Okemba then completed the thrilling comeback with a game-winning try as time expired to hand the NZ Women their first loss of the tournament.   

But as they have so often, the Black Ferns quickly recovered from their pool stage slip to smash Canada 26-5 in their quarterfinal and maintain hope of defending their Hong Kong title.  

Canada came in with a slim chance, having not beaten New Zealand in a knockout game in over nine years, and were immediately put to the sword in the first half.   

A double from Shiray Kaka and another from Jorja Miller saw the Kiwis lead 21-0 at the break.   

Canada's Shalaya Valenzuela finally ended the whitewash, but there was no time left to mount a comeback, especially after Mahina Paul pushed New Zealand’s score to 26 moments later.   

The games are not only crucial in the context of the Hong Kong tournament, but the overall Sevens standings as well, with both Aussie sides just ahead of their Kiwi rivals.