Sevens teams battle the heat in mixed opening day

The All Blacks Sevens and Black Ferns Sevens battled sweltering heat and tough opposition on Day One of the HSBC Sydney Sevens.

With both teams playing two pool matches, the Black Ferns Sevens nabbed a brace of victories while the All Blacks Sevens recorded a win and a loss.

The Black Ferns Sevens continued their unbeaten streak but were forced to work hard for it in tough matches against Japan and Russia.

Held scoreless in the first half against Japan, the flood gates opened in the second spell with Stacey Fluhler, Kelly Brazier, Michaela Blyde and Ruby Tui all contributing to the 28-0 score line.

Another tight encounter against Russia saw the Black Ferns Sevens trailing 10-12 early in the second half before a Shiray Kaka double secured the 22-12 win.

Both Tyla Nathan Wong and Ruby Tui sustained shoulder injuries in the second match and will be assessed before playing tomorrow.

Captain Sarah Hirini said the ability to manage the heat across two tight matches was satisfying.

“Its good to be heading into day two with two wins. Handling the conditions today was a big factor and to still be able to express ourselves as well as we did was impressive.

“We have England tomorrow and they will be completely different to last weekend. They are going to bring line speed and try to starve us of ball, so we have to be prepared for that,” said Hirini.

The All Blacks Sevens recorded their biggest victory this season against Wales, running in eight tries for a 54-5 win.

Co-Captain Tim Mikkelson opened the scoring, in his 89th World Series tournament, which equals DJ Forbes’ record for appearances in the black jersey. Salesi Rayasi and Caleb Clarke both crossed twice while Sam Dickson, Etene Nanai-Seturo and Regan Ware all got their names on the score card.

Facing Fiji to close out the day was a tough as it gets and buoyed by a vocal support the Fijians were firing in the first spell, going out to a 21-0 lead.

The All Blacks Sevens were forced to play catch up in the second half, Ware crossed for the only points for the men in black, the final score 26-5 to Fiji.

All Blacks Sevens co-captain Scott Curry reflected on a big opening day in Sydney.

“We shared the workload well and got a good win in over Wales and knew coming into the match against Fiji it was going to be a tough one. Every game we play against Fiji is like a Final, we prepared like it was a Final but they got the better of us today.

“We need to refocus pretty quickly for Kenya, every point matters on the World Series and while we have built a bit of a lead at the top, that can close pretty quickly so we need to be on our game tomorrow.”

HSBC Sydney Sevens results day one 

Black Ferns Sevens 28 (Stacey Fluhler, Kelly Brazier, Michaela Blyde, Ruby Tui tries, Tyla Nathan-Wong 4 con)
Japan 0

Black Ferns Sevens 22 (Shiray Kaka 2, Tyla Nathan-Wong, Theresa Fitzpatrick tries, Tenika Willison 1 con)
Russia 12

All Blacks Sevens 54 (Caleb Clarke 2, Salesi Rayasi 2, Tim Mikkelson, Sam Dickson, Etene Nanai-Seturo, Regan Ware tries, Vilimoni Koroi 6 con, Ngarohi McGarvey-Black 1 con)
Wales 5

All Blacks Seven 5 (Regan Ware try)
Fiji 26

Day two draw (times listed in NZT)

11.51am Black Ferns Sevens v England
3.41pm All Blacks Sevens v Kenya

Media Resource

Click here for interviews with Black Ferns Sevens Captain Sarah Hirini and All Blacks Sevens co-Captain Scott Curry.