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New Zealand smash Australia in Los Angeles sevens final as card issues haunt Levi again

4th March, 2024
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4th March, 2024
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New Zealand’s women’s sevens team have seized the momentum ahead of the Paris Olympics, with the Black Ferns smashing Australia 29-14 to take out the Los Angeles Sevens.

Despite losing Jorja Miller to injury inside the opening minute, the Black Ferns were back at their lethal best as they ran in five tries against their great trans-Tasman foes.

Tryscoring machine Michaela Blyde was the difference, as the lethal pocket rocket out wide scored a hat-trick, including a first-half double that put New Zealand on the front-foot.

Michaela Blyde scored a hat-trick in New Zealand’s win over Australia in the Los Angeles Sevens final. (Photo by Christopher Pike/Getty Images)

The match-turning moment came in the moments before half-time, as Maddison Levi’s tackling issues returned.

Despite going into contact low, the world’s most dangerous player led with her head and collected a dipping Shiray Kaka in the jaw. It saw her shown a yellow card.

While Australia initially held out, the Black Ferns turned the screws on their opponents shortly after half-time by running in two quick tries as Risi Pouri-Lane and Portia Woodman-Wickliffe scored.

Levi showed what she was capable of with ball-in-hand, as she scored Australia’s second to give the women in gold a faint chance.

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But Blyde’s third sealed the deal as New Zealand closed the gap on the World Series standings to four points.

Earlier, Tim Walsh’s side put away the fast-improving Brazilians and then edged the United States to progress through to the final.

On the men’s side of the draw, John Manenti’s side finished their tournament on a high by beating the United States 24-14 to take out seventh spot.

After missing out on the quarter-finals in Vancouver, it was a much-improved showing by Manenti’s side in Los Angeles after topping their pool by taking down New Zealand, the US and Samoa.

But Australia stumbled against Great Britain in the quarter-finals, losing 26-19.

They responded on the final day of action by beating the US.

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The men’s side of the draw was taken out by France, with Antoine Dupont playing a crucial role in their run to the trophy as they beat Great Britain 21-0 in the final.

His French side sit in fourth spot on 56 points, one point clear of Australia and three ahead of New Zealand.

Argentina, who suffered a shock loss to Ireland in the quarter-finals, are in top spot on 90 points, 20 points clear of Ireland and 26 ahead of Fiji.

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