Breakthrough wins, in more ways than one, at the Cape Town Sevens.
Argentina’s men and Australia’s women have claimed maiden titles at the event but things went wrong when members from both teams celebrated by diving sprigs and all into a defenseless 2000 litre sideline pool.
The pool burst and water flooded the field and the trophy podium.
Australia made it two from two to start the women’s season, backing up victory at Dubai last week, with a win over France in the final.
In a dramatic final, Australia went out to a 22-0 lead in the first half before France closed the gap to 22-14 with Aussie star Maddison Levi red carded for a high tackle in the build-up to the second French try. But Australia held on with six players to win 29-26 and claim a second title of the season.
In the men’s draw Argentina thrashed Australia 45-12.
It was a weekend to forget for the two New Zealand sides.
The Black Ferns Sevens’ staggering run of 14 straight final appearances on the sevens circuit has come to an end after they were beaten in the semifinals.
The New Zealand women’s team hadn’t lost a semifinal since October 6, 2019 in the World Series format, though did suffer a semifinal defeat at the 2022 Commonwealth Games. Last weekend the Black Ferns’ 41-match unbeaten streak ended with a defeat to Australia in the Dubai final.
The final run ended when the Cape Town defending champions went down in a 24-12 defeat to France overnight.
France got out to a 12-0 halftime lead but the Black Ferns Sevens fought back to level the semifinal up first with a try to Michaela Blyde and then Portia Woodman-Wickliffe crossed over while French player Caroline Drouin was in the bin. But despite being down a player France retook the lead when Camille Grassineau broke free with two minutes left.
With time up, New Zealand earned a penalty on their own line and kicked for touch but the resulting lineout was overthrown and Ian Jason pounced on the throw to secure France’s place in the final for just the third time in their history.
Of the 14 straight finals, New Zealand won 11 of them but they have gone back-to-back tournaments without a title for the first time since the 2017-18 season.
The Black Ferns Sevens secured bronze with a 19-7 win over USA in the third place matchup.
In the men’s tournament, the All Blacks Sevens lost 36-21 to Ireland in the quarter-finals and finished fifth beating hosts South Africa in the 5th-6th playoff.2023-12-10T19:37:50Z dg43tfdfdgfd