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Rugby: South Africa men and Australia women claimed the first titles of HSBC SVNS 2024 with victory in Dubai

todayJanuary 25, 2024 3

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South Africa’s Blitzboks overcame a spirited Argentina 12-7 to lift their fifth straight Emirates Dubai 7s trophy – equaling the record for successive titles at a single location. Although Argentina had to settle for silver it represented their best ever result in Dubai.

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The women’s final was another epic encounter between the top two teams in the world. In a replay of last years final, Australia overcame their arch rivals 26-19 to end New Zealand’s winning run on 41 matches, which spanned since their loss in the Dubai final last year.

Teagan Levi touched down either side of halftime as Australia ended New Zealand’s 41-match winning streak to claim their fourth consecutive title in Dubai, as the HSBC SVNS 2024 got off to an electric start.

Not to be overshadowed by her younger sister, Maddison Levi broke her own tournament try record, her 12th try of the weekend in the 13th minute was the decisive one.

The match kicked off at an astonishing speed – and did not let up. Bienne Tarita scored the opening try with just 23 seconds on the clock to set Australia on the road to the title in the 23rd final meeting between the two sides.

But the Black Ferns Sevens made it difficult for the champions. Jorja Miller touched down twice in the first five minutes en route to a hat-trick in a losing cause, before Maddison Levi settled the tournament in the closing minutes.

Australia’s captain Charlotte Caslick had only praise for the younger Levi. “She’s unbelievable. She’s had an amazing pre-season so we’re all just getting to see the hard work that she’s done this year.”

And she explained the game plan for becoming the first team to beat New Zealand since last year’s final in Dubai: “We wanted to hold the ball as much as possible because we know when they touch it they’re dangerous. That was key for us – restarts and holding on to the ball.

“We love coming to Dubai, we love the fans here, playing in front of you guys. It’s a great team and we’re so proud of them. We worked really hard for this, so it’s really special for us.”

New Zealand’s passage to the final saw them beat Brazil 26-14 in the quarter-final before overcoming Canada 21-19 in a nail-biting finish the an exhilarating match.

Australia began the day with a convincing 32-5 quarter-final win over USA before running out 21-14 winners over France in a high quality semi-final.

Canada missed out on their first medal since winning silver in Sydney in 2020 as they were well beaten 26-5 by France who claimed the bronze medal and put in a strong performance throughout the weekend with the returning Anne-Cécile Ciofani contributing to building excitement ahead of the Olympic Games in Paris next July.

The men’s final was a tense affair as South Africa narrowly overcame Argentina 12-7. Impi Visser had already crossed for the Blitzboks when Shilton van Wyk, player of the final in 2022, went over in the fifth minute to take the score to 12-0.

Argentina’s Matias Osadczuk cut the deficit to five points early in the second half, after Ryan Oosthuizen was yellow carded for a dangerous tackle.

Rosko Specman came within inches of a spectacular score, but lost the ball – and ploughed into a steward – in the corner, as South Africa held off the Argentinian fightback.

With the series heading to South Africa next week, their run to the title in Dubai could not have come at a better time. Fans will be hoping they can go back to back in Cape Town next weekend.

South Africa’s acting head coach Philip Snyman hailed his squad’s, “amazing performances throughout the weekend”.

“We said we wanted to leave everything on the field,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what happens with the result – we want to look each other in the eye and have smiles on our faces. Even with the yellow card tonight, they really played each other, they played for their jersey and they restored the pride in the Springbok Sevens jersey.”

South Africa started the day strongly with a 24-7 quarter-final defeat of Australia, before overcoming Fiji 14-7 in an intense semi-final.

Argentina overcame Samoa 21-14 in the quarter-final before narrowly beating New Zealand’s All Blacks Sevens 21-19 in a pulsating semi-final.

New Zealand recovered from the disappointment of their semi-final defeat to take home the bronze medals with a 17-12 victory over Fiji.

The pool draw for the next round of HSBC SVNS in Cape Town on 9-10 December took place on the pitch in Dubai following the end of play and produced some exciting match-ups as fans can now look ahead and get excited to welcoming world class rugby sevens back to the Mother City.

Women’s Pool A: Australia, Fiji, Japan, Spain. Pool B: New Zealand, Ireland, Brazil, Great Britain. Pool C: France, Canada, USA, South Africa.

Men’s Pool A: South Africa, Ireland, USA, Great Britain. Pool B: Argentina, Fiji, France, Spain. Pool C: New Zealand, Samoa, Australia, Canada.

Fans are encouraged not to miss the two-day extravaganza with incredible food, fitness, non-stop music including live music acts from DJ Zinhle, Jack Parow, Sun El-Musician and more, alongside the world class rugby sevens action. Tickets are available from only R150 at Ticketmaster.co.za.

The HSBC SVNS 2024 is set to supercharge the sport’s global appeal and is taking place across eight iconic destinations. The new look HSBC SVNS 2024 features seven regular season events – in Dubai, Cape Town, Perth, Vancouver, Los Angeles, Hong Kong and Singapore – before the Grand Final in Madrid.

The top eight placed teams based on cumulative series points after seven events will compete in the new ‘winner takes all’ Grand Final, where the women’s and men’s champions will be crowned.

Madrid will also play host to the high stakes relegation play-off competition where teams ranked ninth to 12th will join the top four teams from the World Rugby Sevens Challenger, with the top four placed teams securing their place on HSBC SVNS 2025.

The reimagined competition model means fans can expect even more excitement, entertainment and nail-biting jeopardy. And with the clock counting down until rugby sevens kicks off the Olympic Games in Paris on 24 July 2024, the action will be hotter than ever on and off the pitch.

In line with World Rugby’s commitment to grow the women’s game, all HSBC SVNS events will see men’s and women’s teams sharing the platform equally to showcase their incredible strength, speed and skill on the biggest stages around the world.

HSBC SVNS events deliver the ultimate in immersive experiences, a unique festival of sport, entertainment, music, culture and cuisine alongside the world’s best men’s and women’s athletes set against the spectacular backdrops of some of the most stunning locations around the globe.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of World Rugby.

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