Unstoppable Kiwis crowned queens of sevens

PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 March, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 17 March, 1997, 12:00am

New Zealand easily won the inaugural Hong Kong Invitation Women's Sevens, defeating the United States 43-0 in the Cup final at the Aberdeen Stadium yesterday.

The Kiwi women were a class act in the two-day competition, dominating all opponents with an exhilarating display of rugby, packed with powerful tackling, elegant running and classy handling.

To the fore was Tasha Williams, the 23-year-old veterinarian from Christchurch, who blitzed the field to finish as the tournament's top try-scorer with 11.

'It is a great buzz to be here and win the tournament . . . no one came close to us,' said Williams, who is also a champion hammer-thrower and 100-metre sprinter back home.

Only Hong Kong crossed the New Zealand line, that honour going to Kylie Colvin, who dived over for the territory's solitary try in their Cup semi-final, which they lost 39-7.

Apart from this small blemish the Kiwis were unstoppable as they breezed into the final against the Americans. It was one-sided all the way, with the US kick-and-chase approach being easily nullified.

Dianne Apiti scored a hat-trick in the final as the Kiwis ran in seven tries, much to the delight of an appreciative, 2,000-strong crowd - among them Eric Rush and the New Zealand team for the Rugby World Cup Sevens.

'We were delighted with the way we played throughout the whole tournament. It was a great team effort and we are already looking forward to coming back to Hong Kong next year,' said captain Monique Hirovanaa.

With the tournament an outstanding success, Hong Kong organisers are now looking at expanding the event next year.

'Already sponsors Jardine Fleming Unit Trusts have confirmed that they will back us again next year. Now we will be looking at inviting 16 teams. The quality of this first tournament has been excellent,' said organiser Pippa Hoctor.

Meanwhile, Australia defeated Canada 17-7 to win the Plate, while Holland beat Fiji 29-17 in the Bowl final.