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LAX SVNS - Black Ferns claim another one

WRAP: We recap a bumper day three at HSBC SVNS Los Angeles as New Zealand beat Australia in the final and home nation USA secured the bronze medal.

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Michaela Blyde’s hat-trick powered New Zealand to a 29-14 victory over old rivals Australia to take their second gold medal of HSBC SVNS 2024 in as many weeks.

Both sides went into the final unbeaten in Los Angeles but brilliance from Blyde, plus scores from Risi Pouri-Lane and Portia Woodman-Wickliffe, proved the difference as they closed the gap with series leaders Australia in the table to just four points.

It capped off a bumper day of women’s action at HSBC SVNS Los Angeles with three knockout games all taking place on one day, Australia edging hosts USA to make the final while New Zealand beat Canada.

In the third-place playoff, the USA secured the bronze medal on home turf with victory by 21-7 against Canada, their best finish of HSBC SVNS 2024.

Cup Final

New Zealand 29 – 14 Australia

In a well anticipated final between these two familiar foe got off to a flying start as the Black Ferns found space wide through MICHAELA BLYDE who opens the scoring for New Zealand.

The Aussies struck back with a well worked team try and CHARLOTTE CASLICK finishes it off.

MICHAELA BLYDE then showed her power and speed to fend of a defender and then accelerating to run clear for 2nd try of the final.

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MADDISON LEVI was yellow carded at the end of the first half as the teams went into the break with New Zealand up (12-7).

The Black Ferns came back into 2nd half a different beast as they scored 2 tries in quick succession by RISI POURI-LANE & PORTIA WOODMAN-WICKLIFFE.

MADDISON LEVI kept the hopes up for the Australians with a breakaway try but New Zealand responded soon after with a hat trick try by MICHAELA BLYDE.

New Zealand went on to comfortably win another one.

Third-place play-off

Canada 7 – 21 USA

It was a tough contested affair in the opening minutes as both teams refused to give away an inch.

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The USA defense held strong as Canada threw everything at them  they manage to convert that defensive pressure into points as NAYA TAPPER opens the scoring for the US.

The Canadians stayed in it as far as possible as they dominated possession, and their patience paid off when KRISSY SCURFIELD finished off a try for them. Things were level as they went into break.

The US got off to a strong 2nd half start as STEPH ROVETTI ran clear for a try.

The Canadians gave away a penalty try and ASIA HOGAN-ROCHESTER goes to the sinbin for the rest of the match as USA comes out on top to take 3rd position.

Fifth-place play-off

France 53 – 0 South Africa

The French dominated the opening moments of the game and scored a try through SÉRAPHINE OKEMBA who scored a 2nd a few minutes later.

The French just seemed too powerful for the South Africans as CHLOÉ PELLE muscled her way over the try line.

SÉRAPHINE OKEMBA proved unstoppable as she scored her hat trick try on the cuff of half time in an all French 1st half.

France picked up where they left off as they continued to blast South Africa off the park. Tries by LOU NOEL, CHLOÉ PELLE & ANNE-CÉCILE CIOFANI stretched the lead for France.

It continued to go South for the South Africans as SÉRAPHINE OKEMBA scored her 4th try of the game from a kick-off.

LILI DEZOU scored the final try of the game for the dominant French.

Seventh-place play-off

Ireland 14 – 28 Brazil

Brazil got off to a flyer as their speedster THALIA COSTA found some space on the rifht wing and showed a clean pair of heels after fending off an Irish tackle.

The Irish struggled to get going as they made a few uncharacteristic errors.

Brazil scored a 2nd try through BIANCA SILVA who stepped inside-out leaving the Irish defender on the floor as she sprinted away to the poles.

Brazil went into the break (0-14) up.

The Irish found some early momentum in the 2nd half as they scored through AOIBHEANN REILLY.

THALIA COSTA found some space again and ran through untouched before the Irish responded again through a try by EVE HIGGINS.

RAQUEL KOCHHANN sealed the game for Brazilians as she went through for a try.

 

Cup semifinals

Canada 12 VS 31 New Zealand

The kickoff looked to be controlled by Canada but Blyde got it in hand for New Zealand and she darted between the Canadians before shooting through to score a try one minute into the game. Not even a minute later they added another try to their scoresheet via the speed of Woodman-Wickliffe and her break down the middle of the pitch. New Zealand continued their relentless attacking with some swift and expansive passes, crafting a path for Kaka who bagged the final try for the first half.

The second seven started in the best way possible for New Zealand as Woodman-Wickliffe dashed passed her Canadian counter parts on the wing before she wrapped around to put it down close to the sticks. Their path to the final looked to be set. Canada did manage to get a consolation try, but also conceded another to ensure any hopes of a miracle comeback were put to bed. Canada pulled one more out of the bag to end the game with two tries.

USA 19 VS 26 Australia

USA started the game on the front foot but Australia held their nerve and won possession before pushing the hosts back. They created space with some clean passes that allowed Levi through to get the first points of the game. Both sides were locked on the half way line after the mid field, looking to overpower the other physically and Australia came out ahead as Nasser ripped it loose then sprinted right down the middle of the pitch to get another try. Both were converted. USA looked to be going into the break trailing by 14 points but fought back at the last to snag a try, putting them in a good spot for a comeback in the second half.

Australia negated the benefits of the late USA try as they went over the line first in the second half, setting the USA side back even further. The conversion was missed. The hosts refused to role over, responding with a try of their own seconds later as Sedrick dashed beside the wing to make it over the try line. They showed a reignited flame as they pressed on to bag another try plus conversion to level the score. At less than a minute to play Faith Nathan broke USA hearts as she went over to score the final try of the game. Tiny margins between these two sides, excellent showing.

Ninth-place play-off

Great Britain 19 VS 24 Japan

Japan started the Ninth-place fixture with an early try from a surprise pass in the mid field that allowed Saegusa to run along the wing then towards the sticks for a neat try with an easy conversion kick. Great Britain showed good resilience and composure to not let the early try rattle them. They worked together to pull it back and then another just before the hooter. They only secured one conversion from the two tries. Both sides had players sent to the sin bin in the first seven.

Great Britain started the second half with a player down, receiving their yellow card after the hooter had gone in the first half. They stalled out the time then turned on the heat as the timer reached its limit, sneaking in along the flank. Their third try put them comfortably ahead and the game looked out of reach for the Japanese side. Great Britain got another yellow card after Crompton knocked the ball down. Japan capitalised on the player deficit as well as they could have by bringing it back to level terms. At one minute left on the clock Japan were pushing hard to secure the victory. The hooter sounded but both sides felt they had it in them to take it. Hirano emerged as the hero for Japan after she broke the line at the opposition 22 running it in to win the game. Stellar performance from the Japanese women.

Eleventh-place play-off

Fiji 40 VS 7 Spain

The Woman’s Eleventh-place play-off got underway with a Fijian try in the opening minutes by Rokotuisiga. Spain looked like they might recover and initiate some attacking moves of their own but Fiji were having none of it, tackling hard and pressuring the ball carriers and runners alike. The Fijians turned over in the mid field and pushed forward, over running the Spanish defence to bag another try. Spain didn’t let up, but a few crucial mistakes allowed Fiji to turnover once again before the ball was sent to Young who dashed alongside the wing to get the third try for Fiji. They went into the break with a comfortable lead.

The second half gave more of the same for Fiji, despite Spain giving their fair share of attacking plays. Fiji did well to quell the aggressive maneuvers from the Spanish women, but eventually succumbed by conceding one try following a break through the middle of the pitch. A consolation try, but something for the fans no doubt. Fiji were certainly pleased with their strong performance. Spain’s De Corres received a yellow card as the hooter sounded and Fiji capitalised on the woman advantage by putting one more try on the board. A comfortable win for the Fijians.

Cup quarterfinals

France 19 VS 28 Canada

The first game of the Cup quarterfinals could not have started much worse for France as they got gifted two yellow card in the first two minutes. Canada obliged and went over the line to get the lead with Daniels, who converted her own try. Not a minute later, Hogan-Rochester felt she wanted to do the same, and sprinted over the line then converted her own try. France dug themselves into a tight spot in the first half. Canada continued their individual displays as Logan soared over the line to score underneath the sticks. Canada had a 21 point lead going into the break.

France with a good start to the second half as they Ciofani set them on the path to recovery. The celebration was short-lived as they conceded another yellow card, Ian Jason the offender. Okemba reignited the celebrations with a break down the middle and put it down for France’s second. The conversion was secured but Canada reestablished the 14 point lead by scoring and converting again. A riveting fight between these two sides as France fought hard for every point scored, considering their player deficits. Unfortunately it was not enough as Canada showed enough to see the game out.

New Zealand 36 VS 12 Ireland

A minute after each side felt the other out with swift probes, New Zealand threw the first punch with a neatly worked team try and made ball-in-hand look comfortable and effortless. They made it over the line to get the lead but missed the conversion kick. New Zealand continued their string of passes and probes and eventually snuck through once more to double their lead. Ireland did not leave their score untouched, and broke through the middle with one minute left of the half to score a try under the sticks. They unfortunately conceded one more after the hooter, sending the Irish into the break trailing by 10 points.

The ladies in black were in a comfortable position after three minutes into the second half as Blyde cut through the middle as she came in from a wide angle to receive an inside pass. She went all the way to put them comfortably ahead. A minute later New Zealand pulled further ahead with Teneti putting it down for another try. Ireland did manage to respond via the swift efforts of Parsons coming around the corner of the pitch but it was a little too late. New Zealand bag one more for the road after a Ireland seemed to switch off in the final seconds. They progress to the semis.

USA 24 VS 7 South Africa

Both sides looked evenly matched in the opening minutes. USA showed had more of an aggressive edge and made the most of their attacking plays by scoring first, curtesy of Maher. South Africa worked it hard to make it into the 22 of the hosts but the USA did well to stifle the attack. They turned defence into attack, working together well as a team to send Maher over the line once more. USA made a change moments before the hooter sounded, sending Ramsey on to stir things up, which she did by scoring a try as the half came to a close. USA went into the break with a comfortable lead. They only secured one conversion of the three kicked.

Two minutes into the second half Maher made it over the line again with a break through the middle. A spectacular individual performance from the American lady. South Africa felt the game slipping away but fought through their insurmountable position to pull one try back with three minutes left to play. A decently worked try created from a grubber kick. The singular moment of attacking class was not enough to overcome the performance of the Americans.

Australia 26 VS 5 Brazil

The final game of the quarterfinals. Brazil took the lead with a try two minutes into the game, and enjoyed the lead as well as possession for a few moments after putting it down. Australia sharpened their swords and struck twice, drawing blood on each occasion pulling ahead by nine points as they converted both trues, while Brazil did not convert theirs. Australia went into the break ahead.

They picked up where they left off in the first half and added two more tries to their tally, Levi securing a hatrick in the process. Australia had the game tucked away with a few minutes left to play, but continued applying pressure and offering nothing to the Brazilians when they looked to formulate an attack. The game closed with a calm and composed Australia seeing the clock run down. They face USA in the semis.

Australia 26 v 5 Brazil
USA 24 v 5 South Africa
New Zealand 36 v 12 Ireland
France 19 v 28 Canada

Ninth-place semifinals

Great Britain 17 VS 12 Fiji

The first of the Ninth-place semifinals showed a slow start for both sides as neither side looked to have much venom in their respective bites. A number of set pieces and breaks in play ensured the slow pace was maintained in the first seven. Both teams pushed towards open space but neither were successful in breaking through by the time the hooter sounded. It was in the dying breaths of the game that Great Britain switched on and found themselves two against one with the sticks ahead. They managed to pull ahead and went into the break leading five points.

Great Britain came close to doubling their lead in the opening minutes of the second half but were stopped at the last. Fiji regathered and drifted towards the edge of the pitch where Heleina Young shot past the GB players to get them level. Moments later they made it over again with Buleki. They managed one conversion from the two tries. The game looked to be in the bag but Great Britain gave a final push, literally, via the strength of Lisa Thomson who stayed on her feet dragging two Fijians over the line to get the try. The level score took them to golden point.

The gamed stayed between the 22s in the first few minutes, but Great Britain stole possession and burst through along the wing to get the win. Uren the lady to put it down to secure the W. Both sides revitalised the game after the break. Excellent opening fixture for Day 3.

Spain 12 VS 14 Japan

Japan were on the attack from  the kickoff but lost out and a line break from Gil around the halfway saw her dash the distance to get the opening try for Spain. Shortly after they lost a lady as Algar hit the ball down deliberately. Japan capitalised on the one lady advantage and secured a try plus conversion curtesy of Suda. Spain fought had whilst in possession really bringing the game to Japan, who held them back relatively well. They go into the break all squared.

Othani breaks for Japan moments into the second half and shoots forward to put it down in between the sticks. An unexpected burst of speed for the Japanese lady caught the Spanish off guard. The response is immediate from Spain as they worked a well-weaved team try to send Diaz over the line. The conversion was missed. The missed kick ended up costing them as Japan did well holding the Spanish out, driving the win home with a resilient defence.

Spain 12 v 14 Japan
Great Britain 17 v 12 Fiji

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