New Zealand did what has become inevitable at AT&T Park – successfully defending another title, this time the Sevens World Cup.
They kept France scoreless in 29-0 victory with Michaela Blyde scoring a hat-trick and being named Player of the Final, to cap off another excellent tournament for the Black Ferns.
Australia overcame the disappointment of the semi-final loss, and the roars of the home side to claim the bronze medal over the United States.
Demi Hayes, impressive in the starting side, found her first World Cup exciting – loving the crowd.
“I was so glad to be out there. Losing the semi-final was devastating but it was good to be able to come back and win that game," she said.
“It was unbelievable. Obviously, it’s louder playing the USA, but having ‘Aussie, Aussie, Aussie’ yelled makes us feel awesome on the field.”
She’s sure again to be one to watch in the Uni 7s.
In the earlier games, Papua New Guinea beat Mexico comprehensively to place 15th while Brazil emerged victors over South Africa for 13th.
Fiji held China scoreless for 11th place, running in six tries.
Japan scored the first try and the only try of the afternoon’s losing sides, but couldn’t stop England winning the Challenge Cup 31-5.
Japan’s Captain Chiharu Nakamura was pleased with the tournament, despite the final loss.
“Japan hasn’t won a game in the past at these tournaments, but at this World Cup, we won two matches. So that is a positive thing for us,” Nakamura said.
Looking forward to hosting the next two significant Rugby events, Japan is emerging at a great time – along with the game.
“We have lots of support [in Japan]; we have [The men’s Rugby World Cup] in 2019 and also 2020 Tokyo Olympics, so there’s a lot of support through the whole country,” Nakamura said.
“Rugby itself is evolving [as a sport], at the same time as entertainment it has seen the crowds grow significantly, I feel rugby is really on the rise,” she said.
Canada snatched seventh place off Russia after a close first half. It capped off a disappointing tournament for them after they were finalists in 2013.
Spain was pleased to end their tournament on a high, downing Ireland to take fifth spot.
For Maria Ribera, in her last tournaments – “It is nice to beat Ireland. We really wanted to be with the best eight teams.”
Patricia Garcia spoke of how important assessing a loss is “You have to be critical with your mistakes, they must make you improve and grow.”
“We play with heart every time. Sometimes we are not the best, or play the most intelligent rugby but we play with heart, we play as a team, giving everything.”
The weekend highlighted – with a number of lopsided results and few upsets, that there is more than a little daylight between the sevens competition leaders, and the challengers.
Women’s sevens is continuing to develop a continuing field to challenge the sides that dominate. We saw glimpses of a few contenders, but there’s work for World Rugby and the federations to continue to build on the growth of the game.