In the penultimate round of the inaugural IRB Women’s Seven’s World Series, New Zealand displayed clinical finishing and a robust defence in the tournament final, winning 19-6 against an in-form England in Guangzhou, China.
In the third of a four round series, an inspirational performance from Kelly Brazier who contributed 12 of the 19 points helped New Zealand run in three tries against an England side full of confidence on the back of their victory in the previous round in Houston, USA.
The victory for New Zealand, achieved in incredibly wet conditions across the whole two days, has put them firmly in the driving seat to win the series title, needing only to reach the semi-finals of the next and final event in Amsterdam, Netherlands in May to claim the overall crown of this inaugural series.
England got off to a fantastic start in the final, with Kat Merchant crossing to give her side a 5-0 lead. However, the speed, skill and aggression of the Black Ferns proved too much, with Ruby Tui touching down to bring the eventual winners level. Kelly Brazier converted to put New Zealand in front, before following up with two tries of her own to put the series leaders out of sight.
Following the win, New Zealand head coach Sean Horan was full of praise for his side: “I am incredibly proud of the team and the work they put in over the two days. They stuck to their plan and were perfectly clinical in their execution of that game plan.
“They showed a very superior set of skills and despite the monsoon-like conditions we had for two days, they were exceptional in their ball handling.”
Elsewhere in the tournament, Canada defeated neighbours USA in the third place play off match, with Ireland and Japan claiming the competition’s Plate and Bowl finals respectively.
The New Zealand victory leaves them on 54 points, eight points clear of England on 46 heading into the final series event in Amsterdam. Australia remains in third on 38.