28 Jan 2018

NZ Sevens teams face trans-Tasman showdown

10:15 am on 28 January 2018

The New Zealand women's sevens team will take on Australia in today's Sydney leg of the World Series, with the New Zealand men to take on their trans-tasman rivals in the quarter-finals.

Black Fern Michaela Blyde in action

Black Fern Michaela Blyde in action Photo: Photosport

The defending world champion Black Ferns beat Canada 26-0 in their semi-final while Australia beat Russia 31-0 to advance through the the final.

Australia are seeking to repeat their Word Series round-one sevens victory in Dubai but they haven't beaten the Black Ferns since their momentous gold medal match at the 2016 Olympics, enduring five-straight losses.

The Black Ferns have now also gone three games without conceding a point while star winger Portia Woodman has scored 13 tries in the tournament.

Halfback Tyla Nathan-Wong believes the New Zealanders can get over the Australians and gain an early edge ahead of April's Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

"It's pretty impressive, an awesome effort to not concede any points at this level," she said.

"(I've been) proud of all the girls and how they're going out there and striking ... it'll always be a mental edge if you do get one up on someone."

Australian coach Tim Walsh says it will be an epic game.

"Player for player, it's a really good match-up and the reality is that, if one team makes a mistake, the other will just pounce on it."

Australia will fancy their chances of breaking that losing streak thanks to a rebuilt resilience in defence and some deadly finishing.

"Desire, hunger, attitude - whatever it is, the girls have certainly had it this weekend but they're effective tackles as well," Walsh said.

The New Zealand men's team won two of three pool games, beating Russia and Samoa before being edged by Fiji in a thriller.

Despite the defeat the All Black Sevens still advanced to this afternoon's quarter-finals against Australia, with the winner to take on either South Africa or Kenya in the final four.

- RNZ/Reuters