New Zealand toppled Fiji in the Hong Kong rugby sevens final on Sunday to seal a remarkable double gold with their women’s team and extend their lead atop the men’s series standings.
The All Blacks scored the game’s first three tries and held the Pacific islanders at bay from there to finish 24-17 winners, claim their third gold of the 11-stop tour, and extend their lead over second-placed Argentina.
Cody Vai, Sione Molia, Leroy Carter and Ngarohi McGarvey-Black were the New Zealanders who went over the whitewash, less than an hour after their women’s team secured their own gold medal by beating Australia.
“It’s a different beast, Hong Kong Sevens,” said Carter, whose three tries in the city put him on 26 for the series. “We did pretty poorly last time, so to get the win here… over the moon.”
“I can’t even remember the game, I was just in the moment.”
Local favourites Fiji had made the final via a bruising and pulsating semi-final against Great Britain, with Terio Tamani’s try sealing a 19-14 win in extra time.
This year’s tour also serves as Olympic qualifying, with the top four teams automatically heading to Paris 2024.
The series heads to Singapore next, before Toulouse and the finale in London in May.
Carter said his side would look to build on the Hong Kong win.
“Anything can happen, but we’ll definitely draw confidence out of this,” he said, nursing a nasty cut to his left eye. “Taking it one tourney at a time, game by game.”
Sevens tournaments hold a series of finals on the last day, as a chance for sides knocked out early doors to lift some silverware.
In the lesser finals Sunday, the bronze medal went to France, who beat Great Britain 19-17, while Argentina claimed fifth place, Ireland sealed ninth, and hosts Hong Kong finished 13th.
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