Ferns win SVNS league phase

New Zealand win in Singapore and finish top of the table at the end of the SVNS league phase

Published by John Birch, May 5th, 2024

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Ferns win SVNS league phase

New Zealand timed their run to the SVNS league title perfectly, overhauling Australia by beating them in the final in Singapore.

In a thrilling conclusion to the tightest women’s series in history, it all came down to the very last game, contested by the two sides locked on 106 points each at the top of the standings.

However, a depleted Australia could not reply to a ferocious Black Ferns Sevens performance, including a hat-trick from Michaela Blyde, their fourth successive tournament gold confirming their place at the top of the regular season standings.

The final tournament of the regular season also brought confirmation of the final standings. France outshone Fiji for the bronze medal in Singapore to confirm third in the standings, and Great Britain secured eighth spot to fight it out in the Grand Final in Madrid, with Brazil joining Japan, South Africa and Spain to compete in the promotion-relegation tournament.

New Zealand came out the blocks fastest, Blyde finding space on the switch to go 80 metres for the first score, but just moments later it was Australia’s star try-scorer Maddison Levi who matched her feat to level the scores.

Isabella Nasser took Australia ahead until Blyde’s pace once again drew New Zealand back into the game, but Australia kept a slim 14-12 lead at the break.

Blyde completed her hattrick after New Zealand created a massive overload on the left wing, made because Australia’s captain Madison Ashby was down injured, having to leave the field soon after.

Australia were under pressure, and Portia Woodman-Wickliffe made them pay, racing away to take the Black Ferns Sevens 12 points ahead, despite the best efforts of Faith Nathan to drag her down.

Jorja Miller’s steal had Australia scrambling again, and as Stacey Waaka went over in the corner the final was won for New Zealand, despite Levi’s late consolation for Australia.

In the semi-finals: NZ beat Fiji out the blocks; Nathan nicks it for Australia

Stacey Waaka and Jorja Miller scored two quick tries to assert New Zealand’s dominance in their semi-final with Fiji.

Blyde added a third within four minutes, and the Black Ferns Sevens already looked out of sight, but Ilisapeci Delaiwau gave them a foothold on the half-time gong. Fiji showed signs of a comeback early in the second, but Blyde’s second was enough to seal a 33-22 win.

Montserrat Amedee got the first score in France’s semi-final with Australia, but Maddison Levi pulled them level before the break, her boot just clipping the side line en route to a second.

Faith Nathan’s ninth of the weekend put Australia ahead and her 10th gave them the winning score either side of a French leveller to set up a League Winners shootout with New Zealand in the final.

In the Bronze final France took a 12-7 lead into the break against Fiji, Seraphine Okemba and Ian Jason crossing either side of Adi Vani Buleki’s score for Fiji.

Okemba was over again in the second half to extend France’s lead to 10 points, and gave Fiji no let up as Carla Neisen added another under the posts. Lou Noel touched down in the corner just before time for a healthy 29-7 victory.

As a result France head to the Grand Final in Madrid having comfortably finished third in the regular season standings.


Pool A: Canada 0-5 Ireland; New Zealand 38-7 Spain; Canada 28-7 Spain; New Zealand 31-12 Ireland; Ireland 25-7 Spain; New Zealand 31-7 Canada

Pool B: France 41-7 Japan; United States 12-14 South Africa; France 49-0 South Africa; United States 12-22 Japan; Japan 34-7 South Africa; United States 15-19 France

Pool C: Fiji 24-10 Great Britain; Australia 27-10 Brazil; Fiji 29-7 Brazil; Australia 44-0 Great Britain; Great Britain 35-5 Brazil; Australia 60-0 Fiji

9th-12th Place Semi-Finals: United States 33-0 Brazil; South Africa 26-14 Spain

Quarter-Finals: Japan 10-12 Fiji; New Zealand 24-5 Great Britain; Australia 24-14 Ireland; France 24-0 Canada

11th Place: Brazil 19-24 Spain

9th Place: United States 0-5 Japan

Semi-Finals: Fiji 22-33 New Zealand; Australia 19-12 France

7th Place: Canada 17-5 Great Britain

5th Place: Japan 17-19 Ireland

3rd Place: Fiji 7-29 France

Final: New Zealand 31-21 Australia


Final standings

1 NZL 126
2 AUS 124
3 FRA 104
4 USA 85
5 CAN 80
6 FIJ 68
7 IRE 66
8 GBR 39
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9 JPN 34
10 BRA 32
11 RSA 23
12 ESP 17

The top eight will play for the HSBC SVNS title in Madrid, the bottom four will play in a relegation playoff with the top four from the Challenger series.