Rugby World Cup Sevens

Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018: New Zealand win women’s title as Black Ferns perform spine-tingling haka in San Francisco

Michaela Blyde scores hat-trick as Black Ferns thrash France in women’s final at AT&T Stadium to retain their title

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 22 July, 2018, 12:52pm
UPDATED : Monday, 23 July, 2018, 11:39am

The Black Ferns retained their women’s Rugby World Cup Sevens title in San Francisco, beating France 29-0 in the final to claim their second title.

Michaela Blyde ran in a hat-trick of tries as New Zealand dismissed the French, who had earlier stunned Olympic champions Australia to reach the final at AT&T Stadium.

“I’m bloody proud of the effort from the sisters and can’t wait to go and celebrate with them,” New Zealand captain Sarah Goss said.

“It doesn’t get any better than that,” Goss said of becoming back-to-back champions. To have aperformance like that, for Michaela Blyde to stand up for us, it’s an amazing day.

“We came out here and had one goal, and that was to take the trophy back home to New Zealand. We’ve done that and I can’t wait to go back home and show it off to the New Zealand public.”

The 22-year-old Blyde’s treble took her tally for the tournament to nine tries. She gave the Black Ferns the lead after crossing in the corner for an unconverted score to make it 5-0 early on.

Watch: highlights of New Zealand’s Rugby World Cup Sevens final win

Portia Woodman’s try in the corner and Tyla Nathan Wong’s score then extended New Zealand’s lead to 15-0 at the break.

The champions then converted Blyde’s second try to make it 22-0 before she completed her hat-trick just before full-time to seal the win, capping remarkable summer for New Zealand after their Commonwealth Games gold.

Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018: Fiji maul Argentina to reach semi-finals in San Francisco; New Zealand win women’s title

“It’s cool that some of us came back from 2013 to try and defend the title, but for a lot of the girls it was their first World Cup and I thought they played amazing throughout the four games,” Goss said.

“When France have got the ball they’re hard to stop. They’re strong runners and they’ve got speed on the outside, so we knew if we could hold onto the pill we were gonna convert points.

“When you’ve got players like Portia and Michaela they’re hard to stop on the outside as well.”

The new tournament format, starting with a straight knockout round of 16 instead of a pool stage, has been criticised but Goss had no qualms with it.

“We’ve had to come out firing from the get-go,” she said. “Mexico and Ireland are tough games.

Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018: watch highlights with results of Fiji and all the fixtures in San Francisco

“When you’re wearing a black jersey you’re always going to have superpowers. You get up for whatever game because teams are always going to stand up against you.

“To play at AT&T Park, it’s one of the most famous stadiums in the world. To get an opportunity, I might not ever get it again, so I’m just going to soak it in.