New Zealand’s men’s and women’s sevens sides have reached their respective finals of the Hong Kong World Series legs.
Both leading the men’s and women’s World Series, the All Blacks Sevens and Black Ferns Sevens have the chance to extend their lead at the top of the standings when they return to the field on Sunday night.
Ahead in their World Series standings by 14 points, the Black Ferns Sevens will face closest challenger Australia, while the men will square off against the winner of Fiji and Great Britain, looking to add to their 12-point advantage over second-placed Argentina.
In the opening minutes, the Black Ferns Sevens were on the board first when Michaela Blyde showed her speed, beating Fiji’s defence to score under the posts, grabbing her 42nd try of the current World Series.
A quick restart from a penalty, and kick through Fiji’s line from Kelly Brazier put Stacey Waaka over for her sixth try of the weekend, before a runaway effort to Jorja Miller gave New Zealand a 19-0 lead at halftime.
At the start of the second spell, a stolen lineout sent Portia Woodman-Wickliffe away to score in the left corner. Woodman-Wickliffe had a double just minutes later with a run from inside her own half for a 31-0 lead.
Fiji at the very last grabbed a consolation try on the final whistle, as Ana Maria Naimasi broke to score, but it was ultimately too little, too late against a Black Ferns Sevens side at their best.
Australia awaits the World Series leaders in the final, with the decider to be played later on Sunday night.
The Black Ferns Sevens are currently on a streak of four consecutive tournament victories in the World Series, with Dubai being the only leg they haven’t won this season – albeit finishing second in what was their worst result of the campaign.
New Zealand 31 (Blyde, Waaka, Miller, Woodman-Wickliffe tries; Nathan-Wong 2, Pouri-Lane conversions)
Fiji 5 (Naimasi try)
In the men’s draw, the All Blacks Sevens faced a more dogged affair, but emerged victorious after a 12-7 arm wrestle against France.
Despite opening through Lewis Ormond in the first two minutes, the All Blacks Sevens fell behind on the stroke of halftime, as Varian Pasquet equalised, and allowed Paulin Riva to put France 7-5 up at the break.
After sustained defence in their own half, though, New Zealand were given a break through Ngarohi McGarvey-Black, who scored a breakaway try in the 11th minute to put his side on the cusp of the final.
From there, the All Blacks Sevens held on, and gave New Zealand the chance at a Hong Kong double, joining their female counterparts in the decider.
All Blacks Sevens 12 (Ormond, McGarvey-Black tries; Savage conversion)
France 7 (Pasquet try; Riva conversion)