Black Ferns Sevens claim top prize in Clermont

New Zealand are the 2016-17 HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series champions.

The Black Ferns Sevens also claimed the HSBC Clermont-Ferrand Sevens trophy after beating rivals Australia 22-7 on Sunday evening.

Earlier in the day, the Kiwis beat hosts France in the semi-finals meaning they could not be caught by the nearest challengers, Australia and Canada, at the top of the standings.

The Kiwis have only been beaten once this season, when USA got the better of them in Sydney in February. It’s the fourth title for New Zealand since the series began in 2012, with Australia the only other team to collect a series trophy to date.

It means Allan Bunting’s side top the overall series standings with Australia finishing second and Canada going home with the series bronze.

Speaking afterwards, New Zealand captain Tyla Nathan-Wong said: “Wow, it’s an amazing feeling. It just goes to show how much heart and mana these girls have, not only here but back at home – all the girls who have pushed each other and the management that worked really hard this season.

“Finishing so close to that gold last year at the Olympics; this season we really stepped it up and brought it to them. It shows – five from six (tournaments this season) and now we’re world series champions.”


Meanwhile, New Zealand’s Michaela Blyde swept the boards at the end of season awards that followed the tournament in Clermont. Blyde was named top try scorer, DHL Impact Player of the Season and featured in the end of season Dream Team.

“I didn’t come here thinking about those bonuses, we came here to win the tournament and the series. We just wanted to make the final and win,” she said.

“But it’s been my favourite season of all time! It’s been a long five years for me and i’vev enjoyed every season. But holding the series trophy is pretty new and it’s been the highlight of my season.”

The Awards in full:

Rookie of the Year: Raijieli Daveua (Fiji)

Top Try Scorer: Michaela Blyde (NZ ,40 tries)

Referees Fair Play Award: USA

DHL Impact Player: Michaela Blyde (NZ)

Season Dream Team:  Brittany Benn (CAN) Ruby Tui (NZ) Sharni Williams (AUS) Michaela Blyde (NZ) Alev Kelter (USA) Ghislaine Landry (CAN) Portia Woodman (NZ)