The All Blacks Sevens and Black Ferns Sevens have reigned supreme at the HSBC Dubai Sevens claiming the tournament crowns this weekend.
It is the third time in 2018 that the teams have enjoyed success together, having won Gold at the Commonwealth Games in April and defending their Rugby World Cup Sevens titles in San Francisco in July.
The Black Ferns Sevens capped off a stellar 2018 by claiming their fourth Dubai Sevens title.
On Day One the Black Ferns Sevens got past Kenya, Russia and Ireland to advance to the play offs where they met Russia again and were dominant in a 31-0 win.
Michaela Blyde, who notched up her 100th World Series try in Dubai, nabbed a hat trick in the semi final win against USA, setting up a Final against Canada.
Theresa Fitzpatrick opened the scoring in the Final and Tyla Nathan-Wong crossed twice on the way to a 26-14 victory.
The plaudits continued for the team, with Blyde finishing equal top point scorer, Nathan-Wong named Player of the Final, captain Sarah Goss awarded Player of the Tournament and Goss, Gayle Broughton and Kelly Brazier all named in the tournament Dream Team.
Goss said the memory of their fifth place finish at Dubai last year was motivation this weekend.
“Obviously we talked about it, we were disappointed with how we went last year but to come back and win here, its’ one of the most amazing tournaments you can play in, its amazing that we’ve taken home the silverware,” said Goss.
The Black Ferns Sevens close out 2018 leading the World Series after two tournaments, and boast an impressive 39-match winning streak.
Resilience was the order of the day for the All Blacks Sevens who claimed their first Dubai title since 2009, in wake of a string of injuries.
While Kurt Baker and Jona Nareki were ruled out in Dubai before the tournament kicked off, over the course of the two days Scott Dickson, Akuila Rokolisoa, Scott Curry and Regan Ware were all also sidelined.
The All Blacks Sevens topped their pool after wins over Wales, Spain and USA, setting up a quarter final against Scotland.
The 21-7 victory over Scotland saw the team progress to the semi finals where they produced an inspired performance to overcome England.
Tone Ng Shiu’s try was the only scoring play for the All Blacks Sevens while they were forced to defend their line for long periods. A crucial turn over in the last play of the game by debutant Scott Gregory secured the 7-5 victory, and was also awarded the UL Mark of Excellence as “Moment of the Tournament”.
With just nine players in the Final, the All Blacks Sevens again faced the USA and tries to Ng Shiu, Collier and McGarvey-Black confirmed the 21-5 result.
Andrew Knewstubb was celebrated for his outstanding weekend by being named in the tournament Dream Team as well as picking up Player of the Final and the Tournament.
Testament to the defensive effort of the team, Dylan Collier and Sione Molia finished the weekend as top defenders, with 20 tackles each.
Injured co-captain Scott Curry was full of praise for his team’s efforts.
“It was hugely impressive, guys like Andrew Knewstubb, Sione Molia and Dylan Collier led from the front and they were inspirational for those younger players, and the guys that hadn’t had much game time on the circuit really stepped up and played well,” said Curry.
The men now travel to Cape Town for their last hit out of 2018, those injured players will be assessed, and any replacements will be announced in coming days.