New Zealand beat Australia to claim fourth consecutive women’s title
Argentina break France hearts with victory in men’s final
USA women and Australia men claim bronze medals
New Zealand lead both the men’s and women’s Series standings
New Zealand Black Ferns Sevens become the first women’s team to qualify for Paris 2024
Paris 2024 Olympic qualification at stake for top four ranked teams in 2023 Series
The Series continues in Hong Kong on 31 March to – 2 April with both men’s and women’s events in action
Argentina men and New Zealand women secured HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series gold on a dramatic final day to cap off a thrilling weekend of rugby sevens in Vancouver.
The victory over Les Bleues for Los Pumas Sevens marks their second cup title of the season, and back-to-back at BC Place after winning the event in 2022 as well.
After seven events in the 2023 season, Argentina sit in second place behind New Zealand, with just 12 points separating the two nations.
Argentina coach Santiago Gómez Cora said: “I can’t believe it. My dream was to try to be competitive and be in the top six for this season and we are in second position. We are here and I cannot believe it. I dreamed it seven years ago when I started to pick players from 16 years old and tried to develop that kind of player and now you have the reality.
“We love Vancouver, we love this city and playing in America.”
In the women’s final, the New Zealand Black Ferns avenged last year’s loss at the hands of Australia at the HSBC Canada Sevens tournament, held in Langford on Vancouver Island.
Having won four consecutive tournaments this season, the Black Ferns became the first women’s team to officially book their ticket to Paris 2024 and will join France, who automatically qualify as hosts.
It was the Black Ferns’ 24th win in a row. Their last defeat came in the first round in Dubai.
New Zealand Black Ferns captain Sarah Hirini said: “I’m absolutely so happy to have performed the way that we did. It’s always hard against Australia and the way that they play. It’s really cliché, but I’m really proud of our girls.
“Qualifying for Paris 2024 was our goal for the season but to do that to early is kind of nice. Our coaches let us celebrate when we found out, but it was about winning the tournament and seeing if we can finish the season off. We were pretty gutted we didn’t take the World Series home last year and we want to take that home now.”
In the bronze medal matches, USA women and Australia men defeated France and Ireland respectively to finish on the podium and earn valuable Series points.
USA got off to a flying start against France, a battle between third and fourth in the sevens rankings, racing to a 12-0 lead inside five minutes, via Naya Tapper and Sammy Sullivan before their opponents could mount a meaningful attack.
Carla Neisen gave France hope with a try under beside the posts midway through the second period – but Nicole Heavirland broke clear to decide the match, and third place, 19-17.
For Australia’s men’s team, Henry Paterson pounced on an early Ireland error in their own 22 to set Australia on the way to a 20-5 win in the bronze final – improving on their performance in Los Angeles by one place.
Ireland’s Niall Comerford responded with a long-range try after a mistake by Australia in Irish territory before high-speed teenager Darby Lancaster picked a perfect line to run one in from halfway.
The Irish had their chances, but fierce Australia pressure forced them into faults that cost ground, possession, or both. And when Maurice Longbottom scrambled clear of a messy situation to score the Wallabies’ third, it was all over. Nathan Lawson added a fourth for good measure.
The 2023 Series is continuing to be the most competitive in history with the prize of Olympic Games Paris 2024 qualification on offer for the top four women’s and men’s teams in the 2023 Series standings, while hosts France have pre-qualified for next summer’s pinnacle event in the nation’s capital.
The stakes couldn’t be higher at the bottom end of the men’s Series this season as well. Following the penultimate event in Toulouse, the 15th ranked team will be relegated to the 2024 Sevens Challenger Series while the 12th through 14th ranked teams will face off against the Sevens Challenger Series 2023 winner for the 12th and final position on the 2024 Series.
The men’s and women’s teams will now break for three weeks before meeting at the end of the month for the next round of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2023 in Hong Kong on 31 March to 1 April and the pools have been confirmed.
In the men’s competition, Vancouver champions Argentina slot into Pool A alongside Fiji, Samoa and Canada while France headline Pool B with Great Britain, Uruguay and hosts Hong Kong China. HSBC Canada Sevens bronze medallists Australia will face off against USA, Spain and Japan in Pool C while Ireland will meet Series leaders New Zealand, Kenya and South Africa in Pool D.
The women’s pools see Series leaders New Zealand in Pool A alongside Canada, Great Britain and invitational team Hong Kong China in Pool A. Vancouver runners-up Australia will take on Fiji, Ireland and Brazil in Pool B while Pool C sees USA, who have medalled at every event this year, with France, Japan and Spain.