Best Boks Sevens Tournament as New Zealand edge Australia for Singapore SNVS title

The Springbok Sevens’ Simamkele Namba pictured in her efforts for South Africa to earn a second win over the USA - and their third victory of their final HSBC SNVS tournament in Singapore - on day three of the HSBC SVNS at the National Stadium in Singapore, on Saturday, 4 May, 2024. Photo: Mike Lee - KLC fotos for World Rugby

One try was enough for the Springbok Women’s Sevens team as they finished the HSBC SVNS Singapore on a winning note to secure ninth position with their second victory of the weekend over the USA, at the National Stadium in Singapore on Sunday, 5 May, 2024.

The 5-0 victory over the USA early on Sunday morning meant that South Africa finished the tournament at the National Stadium with three wins and two defeats from their five games, their second-best performance of the season.

Maria Tshiremba scored what turned out to be the match-winner just before the break against the USA, and the Bok Women then threw everything they had into the last seven minutes to remain ahead on the scoreboard.

Renfred Dazel (head coach) was very happy with his team’s overall performance on the weekend.

“This was the first time we’ve had three wins in a tournament, and it was good for the girls to build momentum (for the rest of the season),” said Dazel. “Although there were some tired and sore bodies out there today, the girls pulled through.

“I’m really stoked with their performance, especially with the way in which they stood up for this team and for our system – some of them even playing out of position, like Ayanda Malinga playing at prop for the first time.”

The Bok Women were close to reaching the quarter-finals in Singapore, but heavy defeats in their final two pool games, against France and Japan, scuppered their chances of reaching the top eight for a second time this season.

“Playing against France and Japan, it felt like it was a mental thing for the players, and we need to overcome that, because if we had lost with a bonus point against Japan, we could have made the quarter-finals,” he said.

On the first day of the tournament, the South Africans beat the USA, 14-12 – who had come into the tournament in fourth spot on the standings and on the back of a silver medal in Hong Kong a month ago. But that high was followed by disappointing defeats in their next two pool games at the hands of France and Japan.

The second day ended on a high though, with a 26-14 victory over Spain to book the rematch against the USA.

Tshiremba scored a brace of tries against the Spanish, but her five-pointer against America was probably the most important of her fledgling sevens career.

Eloise Webb, one of the senior players in the squad, shared Dazel’s sentiments: “There is a lot to work on, but there is also a lot of positives we can take out of this weekend and we’re really proud of the fight we showed in that last game.

“We need to react a bit quicker in all our games, but we’re happy with how the weekend ended. Not so much on how things went in the second and third games, but I think we showed a lot of courage to come back from that to win our last two games.

“We bought in to what we wanted to achieve and really showed some fight for one another,” added Webb.

On the injury front, Dazel said they will assess a few players when they are back in South Africa. Simamkele Namba injured a knee, Zintle Mpupha suffered a concussion and Shona-Leah Weston strained her hamstring.

Dazel’s team will travel to Spain later this month where they will play in the new promotion and relegation play-off competition at the HSBC SVNS Grand Final in Madrid, with the four bottom-placed teams on the current standings taking on China, Argentina, Belgium and Uganda for core status next season.

Their final assignment of the season will be in Paris in July, when they play in the Olympic Games for the first time.

In the tournament’s final, New Zealand came out 31-21 victors against Australia in a straight shootout to be crowned SVNS League Winners 2024 and the first ever women’s HSBC SVNS Singapore champions.

In a thrilling conclusion to the tightest women’s series in history, it all came down to the very last game, contested by the two sides locked on 106 points each at the top of the standings. 

However, a depleted Australia could not reply to a ferocious Black Ferns Sevens performance, including a hat-trick from Michaela Blyde, their fourth successive tournament gold confirming their place at the top of the regular season standings.  

The final tournament of the regular season also brought confirmation of the final standings. France outshone Fiji for the bronze medal in Singapore to confirm third in the standings, and Great Britain secured eighth spot to fight it out in the Grand Final in Madrid, with Brazil joining Japan, South Africa and Spain to compete in the promotion-relegation tournament. 

New Zealand win Double Title 

New Zealand came out the blocks fastest, Blyde finding space on the switch to go 80 metres for the first score, but just moments later it was Australia’s star try-scorer Maddison Levi who matched her feat to level the scores.

Isabella Nasser took Australia ahead until Blyde’s pace once again drew New Zealand back into the game, but Australia kept a slim 14-12 lead at the break. 

Blyde completed her hattrick after New Zealand created a massive overload on the left wing, made because Australia’s captain Madison Ashby was down injured, having to leave the field soon after.

Australia were under pressure, and Portia Woodman-Wickliffe made them pay, racing away to take the Black Ferns Sevens 12 points ahead, despite the best efforts of Faith Nathan to drag her down.

Jorja Miller’s steal had Australia scrambling again, and as Stacey Waaka went over in the corner the final was won for New Zealand, despite Levi’s late consolation for Australia. 

In the semi-finals: NZ beat Fiji out the blocks; Nathan nicks it for Australia  

Stacey Waaka and Jorja Miller scored two quick tries to assert New Zealand’s dominance in their semi-final with Fiji. 

Blyde added a third within four minutes, and the Black Ferns Sevens already looked out of sight, but Ilisapeci Delaiwau gave them a foothold on the half-time gong. Fiji showed signs of a comeback early in the second, but Blyde’s second was enough to seal a 33-22 win.

Montserrat Amedee got the first score in France’s semi-final with Australia, but Maddison Levi pulled them level before the break, her boot just clipping the side line en route to a second.

Faith Nathan’s ninth of the weekend put Australia ahead and her 10th gave them the winning score either side of a French leveller to set up a League Winners shootout with New Zealand in the final.

Bronze Final: France Outshine Fiji 

France took a 12-7 lead into the break against Fiji, Seraphine Okemba and Ian Jason crossing either side of Adi Vani Buleki’s score for Fiji. 

Okemba was over again in the second half to extend France’s lead to 10 points, and gave Fiji no let up as Carla Neisen added another under the posts. Lou Noel touched down in the corner just before time for a healthy 29-7 victory. 

France head to the Grand Final in Madrid having comfortably finished third in the regular season standings. 


Original Copy: World Rugby and SA Rugby with editing by gsport.

Main Photo Caption: The Springbok Sevens’ Simamkele Namba pictured in her efforts for South Africa to earn a second win over the USA – and their third victory of their final HSBC SNVS tournament in Singapore – on day three of the HSBC SVNS at the National Stadium in Singapore, on Saturday, 4 May, 2024. Photo: Mike Lee – KLC fotos for World Rugby

Photo 2 Caption: Nadine Roos (left) and Mathrin Simmers interacting with supporters in Singapore on Sunday. Photo: Mike Lee – KLC fotos for World Rugby

Photo 3 Caption: New Zealand came out 31-21 victors against Australia in a straight shootout to be crowned SVNS League Winners 2024 and the first ever women’s HSBC SVNS Singapore champions. Photo: Mike Lee – KLC fotos for World Rugby

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