The All Blacks Sevens and Black Ferns Sevens teams are on top of the world having claimed their respective HSBC Cape Town Sevens titles this morning.
Forced to work tirelessly on their way to victory, the teams now sit atop the World Series standings heading into 2020 and the first tournament of the New Year in Hamilton.
For the Black Ferns Sevens, it was their first appearance in Cape Town and their first back-to-back tournaments on the world circuit.
Opening the weekend against hosts South Africa on Day One, the Black Ferns Sevens secured a comfortable victory before being pushed by Fiji and Russia on Day Two. A quarterfinal victory over England was only secured in extra-time, with 18-year-old debutant Mahina Paul scoring the winning try to set up a semifinal against Canada.
After progressing past Canada 15-5, the Black Ferns Sevens faced old foes Australia in the Final. A Player of the Final performance from Ruby Tui, who crossed for two tries, was one of many heroic efforts from the team.
Niall Williams and Kelly Brazier were named in the HSBC Dream Team for their performances over the weekend.
It tops off a big two weeks for the Black Ferns Sevens, after claiming the Dubai crown last weekend and being named New Zealand Team of the Year, while coaches Cory Sweeney and Allan Bunting were named New Zealand Coach of the Year, at the ASB Rugby Awards on Thursday night.
The All Blacks Sevens had finished second in Dubai last weekend and were motivated to go one better to celebrate Sam Dickson’s 50th World Series tournament. Looking strong in pool play, the team progressed past Wales and Canada before closing out the day with a 19-14 win over Argentina.
Kurt Baker and Tone Ng Shiu – who was named the Richard Crawshaw Memorial All Blacks Sevens Player of the Year at the ASB Rugby Awards – both scored twice in the quarterfinal victory against Scotland, with Baker featuring again in a composed 24-7 win over Fiji in the semifinals.
A Final against hosts, South Africa, in front of a 50,000 Cape Town crowd ensured a classic battle. Nil-all at halftime, South Africa broke the deadlock, but the fancy footwork of Ngarohi McGarvey-Black went in under the posts for the 7-5 lead which the team managed to hold.
McGarvey-Black was named Player of the Final, while co-captain Scott Curry was named in the HSBC Dream Team.
Both teams return home for a short summer break before preparing for the HSBC New Zealand Sevens in Hamilton at the end of January.