Unbeaten start for Black Ferns Sevens in Langford

Getty Images     12 May 2019     Getty Images

The Langford defending champions picked up wins over Russia, China and England on day one of the tournament. 

After drawing with Russia in Kitakyushu, the Black Ferns Sevens put on a dominating display against them in their opening game, coming away with a 26-7 victory. 

Michaela Blyde played a starring role in the win, scoring two brilliant tries to give her side a 14-0 lead at the break. New Zealand’s defence held strong in the opening stanza and continued right through until the 12th minute, where Russia scored their first try. 

Alena Saili was solid in the second half, making some good breaks. She set Kelly Brazier up for the Black Ferns Sevens third try. Niall Williams sealed the deal for New Zealand, scoring right on full time. 

The Black Ferns Sevens put on a clinic against China in their second pool match, winning 45-0. 
18-year-old Dhys Falaefaga was a standout for New Zealand, making some massive tackles and showing her strength by bumping off defenders and scoring early in the second half.

Niall Williams opened the scoring after just 30 seconds against China, throwing a dummy to easily score her second of the day. Ruby Tui also had a solid game. She set Michaela Blyde up for a try, making a great bust and fending the Chinese defence, before offloading to Blyde. 

Tui made another great bust right on the break and scored to give the Black Ferns Sevens a handy 21-0 lead at half time. 

The flood gates opened in the second half, with Falaefaga, Kelly Brazier, Chey Robins-Reti and Terina Te Tamaki all getting amongst the action and scoring to make it 45-0 at full time. 

There is some concern for Blyde, who was assisted from the field in the game against China with what appeared to be a knee injury. She didn’t feature in their third match against England but was on the bench. 

The Black Ferns Sevens were certainly put to the test in their third and final pool match against England. 

Faleafaga was again dangerous with the ball in hand, fending off several defenders. But it was England who struck first in the opening half. England made a great break and looked certain to score, before Nathan-Wong made a try-saving tackle and then stripped the ball. Unfortunately, she was unable to maintain possession and Ellie Kildunne was there to cross the line for England. 

It wasn’t long until the Black Ferns Sevens hit back, and it was an incredible try to Alena Saili, who started in place of Blyde. The ball was passed out wide to Ruby Tui who drew in defenders and threw an inside ball to Saili who ran 70 metres to score New Zealand’s opening try, making it 5-5 at half time. 

England made their move early in the second half, scoring through Holly Aitchison to give them the lead. But Black Ferns Sevens captain Sarah Hirini made her move and spotted a gap to step her way towards the posts and score a superb and crucial try. Nathan-Wong kicked the conversion to put New Zealand in front with three minutes to play. 

Despite England’s best efforts, the Black Ferns Sevens were able to hold on and secure victory 12-10. 

The Black Ferns Sevens will open play on day two in Langford tomorrow morning. They will meet Spain the the Cup quarterfinals, kicking off 4.18am Monday NZT 

World Rugby Sevens Facebook page will have live coverage, with Sky Sport pop-up channel 055 LIVE from 9.50am.

Scorers: New Zealand 26 (Michaela Blyde 2, Kelly Brazier, Niall Williams tries; Tyla Nathan-Wong 3 cons) Russia 7 (Elena Zdrokova try; Daria Lushina con). HT: 14-0 

Scorers: New Zealand 45 (Niall Williams, Michaela Blyde, Ruby Tui, Dhys Faleafaga, Kelly Brazier, Chey Robins-Reti, Terina Te Tamaki tries; Tyla Nathan-Wong 4, Risi Pouri-Lane 1 cons) China 0. HT: 21-0 

Scorers: New Zealand 12 (Alena Saili, Sarah Hirini tries, Tyla Nathan-Wong con) England 10 (Ellie Kildunne, Holly Aitchison tries). HT: 5-5