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August 6, 2018 | by  | in Sports | [ssba]

Raising Sevens to the Heavens

Several weeks ago, the All Black Sevens and Black Fern Sevens created history among the ever growing and popular sport of Sevens rugby. In the blistering heat of a sunny AT&T Park in San Francisco, the two New Zealand sides became the first two teams to win the Sevens Rugby World Cup in back-to-back appearances.
The All Black Sevens were helped by the unstoppable Joe Ravouvou, who lead all-try scorers in the men’s competition with six. His unique size and speed made it near impossible for defenders to slow him down in one-on-one situations — something that happens frequently in the open style play of the modern Sevens game. Captain Tim Mikkelson was instrumental to the side’s success, displaying a couple of huge covering tackles that swung momentum back in his side’s favour when it felt like they were on the back foot against some of the in-form sides of the competition.
Following a disappointing Olympics, new coach Clark Laidlaw has turned a bright corner for the team. Since taking over in June 2017, the Scotsman has brought new light to a team who seemed lost for three seasons. Laidlaw established a new training scheme, brought focus on the brotherhood within the squad, and proved the potential was there all along.
The Black Fern Sevens also took the tournament by storm. Their fantastic run to the finals saw the team concede only three tries, of all which came in a semi-final match against the host, USA. The side romped through Mexico and Ireland, as well as putting in a comfortable performance in the final against France, winning 29-0. Michaela Blyde was a crowd favourite, leading all points and try-scorer’s, not only in the women’s competition, but for the entire tournament.
Both winning sides put an exclamation point on New Zealand’s world rugby dominance. It was a double-victory for the women and men in black. The tournament was a great success as it showcased the world’s fastest form of the game in front of a packed-out American crowd. Undoubtedly, world rugby has long-been trying to tap into the American market. This tournament has certainly helped its cause. Fans were treated to a spectacular rugby spectacle under the glorious days of the seemingly never-ending West Coast summer.
Celebrations went long into the night throughout the streets of San Francisco. Judging from a photo circulating the internet, All Black Sevens player Kurt Baker couldn’t wait to get the party started. The photo shows Baker in his birthday suit celebrating with the sides’ new silverware.
The venue for the 2022 Rugby Sevens World Cup is yet to be decided. Hopefully, the event will be held in another nation that has been deprived of the sensational, fast-paced sport.


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