23 May 2015

NZ win world sevens title

5:39 pm on 23 May 2015

New Zealand has won the World Rugby Women's Sevens Series for the third year in a row.

The New Zealanders just had to show up in Amsterdam to ensure they could not be mathematically caught by the chasing pack, and they showed up in style by scoring six tries to easily beat Fiji 32-0 in their first game of the day.

Portia Woodman

Portia Woodman Photo: PHOTOSPORT

They also beat South Africa 31-7 and lost to the United States 34-5.

New Zealand finished second in their group and will take on England in the quarter-finals.

Speaking after retaining the championship, a smiling captain Sarah Goss said: "It's amazing, we put in a lot of hard work over a long period of time and to come out at the first game of the day is great. We still have a long way to go (this weekend) but we're really looking forward to the challenge.

"We've won four tournaments out of the five so far and to do that takes a special team, a special group of girls and we're just really proud of the performances during the season," she added.

New Zealand led the standings throughout the season and ensured Olympic qualification in London last weekend. They were led by stellar performances from Kayla McAlister, captain Sarah Goss and, of course, speedster Portia Woodman, who has scored 50 tries in the season so far.

Only four other players have reached that figure or above - Delasau from Fiji in 2000, Samoa's Mikaele Pesamino in 2010, England's Dan Norton in 2013 and Samisoni Viriviri from Fiji last year. All men and all legends of the game - and it looks like Woodman is on course to join that group of legends based on current form.

Coach Sean Horan was delighted to officially retain the series title at the NRCA Stadium in Amsterdam.

"It was really pleasing. To have a performance goal at the beginning of the world series that included Olympic qualification for Rio and to go well in the series was pleasing, and to be able to wrap it up by hopping on the field was pretty special.

"We live by standards. We've nailed it and we've grown, especially from wins in Dubai, Sao Paulo and Atlanta."

Horan noted that his team bounced back well after two surprising losses in London last weekend, after going unbeaten for 37 straight matches.

"We learned a lot last week and we have a some strong girls that are very, very proud and we got a bit dented. It's been ongoing for three years ... we're New Zealanders, we love rugby and these girls are representing it very well."