Sweet revenge for the New Zealand women’s sevens team.
Last year, Australia won their home event at the Sydney Sevens with a crushing 31-0 success in the final, but New Zealand’s champion women’s sevens team hadn’t lost a game since.
And they have extended that incredible record to 48 games, exacting revenge for the drubbing a year ago by beating their arch rivals 34-10 in the final of the world series event at Spotless Stadium on Sunday night.
Michaela Blyde nabbed a hat-trick while Stacey Waaka bagged two tries as New Zealand were largely untroubled after they opened the scoring through Waaka, finishing off mini-breaks by Ruby Tui and Blyde.
Australia did hit straight back with an excellent chip-and-chase try from Emma Sykes but the match turned when Australia’s Sharni Williams was binned for tackling a New Zealand player in the air, the Black Ferns scoring twice through Shakira Baker and Blyde to edge away 17-5 at halftime.
Blyde streaked away for a long-range try early in the second half to essentially put the match beyond reach at 22-5, though Sykes bagged a second try to close the gap before Waaka snared her own brace of final tries – and Blyde grabbed her hat-trick – to finish the Aussies off.
Earlier on Sunday, the Black Ferns saw off the United States 29-5 in the last four while Australia beat Ireland 24-12 in the second semifinal on the second leg of the world series.
Against USA, the prolific Blyde sprinted clear for the opening try and further scores to Ruby Tui and Gayle Broughton stretched New Zealand’s lead to 19-0 by halftime on finals day.
Baker was too quick for the American defenders down the left flank for New Zealand’s fourth try and Katarina Whata-Simpkins wrapped up proceedings after a weaving run from Waaka. Lauren Doyle scored USA’s consolation try in the final minute.
New Zealand, who won the opening leg of the series in Dubai, topped their pool after emphatic victories against Papua New Guinea (38-5), France (31-7) and England (29-0) and beat Canada 17-7 in Saturday’s quarterfinals.
Along their glorious run of 48 victories on the trot, the Black Ferns have won gold at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and triumphed at the Sevens World Cup, as well as winning five legs of the World Series and the exhibition fast four tournament at last weekend’s Hamilton Sevens.