March 8, 2020 Vancouver, BC – New Zealand hung on to win a tense gold medal final at the HSBC Canada Sevens in front of another bumper crowd at BC Place in Vancouver, closing out a 2020 tournament that saw 74,560 fans pack BC Place Stadium over the action-packed weekend.
The All Blacks Sevens’ 17-14 victory over rivals Australia means they stretch their lead at the top of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2020 standings to 11 points after six rounds.
The silver medal represents Australia’s best result of the Series so far and their second podium finish following bronze in Hamilton.
The final was a see-saw affair, which included three yellow cards, but ultimately a pair of tries from Joe Ravouvou sealed the victory for New Zealand, who duly performed their famous Haka in celebration after receiving their medals.
The All Blacks Sevens reached the final courtesy of a dominant 17-5 quarter-final victory over Fiji before seeing off last year’s HSBC Canada Sevens champions South Africa, running in five tries to win a high quality semi-final 27-15.
Hosts Canada were outstanding throughout the weekend and brought the huge crowd to their feet by winning the bronze medal with an impressive 26-19 victory over South Africa.
Canada were fully deserving of their first Series podium finish since they won gold in Singapore in 2017 and proved that with the Olympic Games just a few months away, many teams can be in with a chance of becoming Olympic medallists.
There was high drama in the semi-final as Canada thought they had scored a match winning try against Australia in the last play of the match only for the Television Match Official to rule that the ball had been grounded centimetres short of the try line, cueing agony for the Canadian fans in the stadium and relief for the Australia who were safely through to the final.
Australia had earlier overcome England 31-12 to reach the semi-finals, while hosts Canada beat Spain 21-0 to ensure their spot in the semi-finals and give the home crowd hope of a podium finish.
The USA were beaten at the quarter-final stage by South Africa 26-10 but bounced back with an impressive 40-14 win over Fiji to meet England in an entertaining game to decide fifth position, with England eventually coming out on top by a 26-24 score line.
The results in Vancouver mean New Zealand maintain their position at the top of the Series standings, increasing their lead to 11 points over second placed South Africa with four rounds still to play. Fiji remain in third place with Australia hot on their heels just two points behind in fourth.
The All Blacks Sevens have been the most consistent performers of the series, winning medals in five of the six rounds so far.
The HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series will be back in action on 2-3 May when the sixth round of the women’s series returns to Canada in Langford. The men are next in action for round seven in London, England, on 23-24 May.
With less than five months to go to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games the squads will also be training and preparing towards competing in the biggest sporting event on the planet. The rugby sevens competition kicks off on 27 July and runs through to 1 August and is expected to be one of the hottest tickets of the Games following the outstanding success of Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan.