New Zealand secured HSBC Los Angeles gold with a 22-12 over Argentina to capture their second consecutive title to increase their lead at the top of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2023 standings. Fiji claim the bronze medal thanks to a two-point win over Australia.
- New Zealand defeated Argentina 22-12 to win second consecutive tournament and extend their lead at the top of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2023 standings
- Fan-favourites Fiji claim the bronze medal in thrilling fashion over Australia
- The most competitive men’s Series to date with Olympic qualification at stake for the top four teams has seen five different winners in the first six rounds
- The 2023 Series continues in Vancouver 3-5 March alongside the women for the first time ever at BC Place Stadium
New Zealand became the first men’s team to win two tournaments in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2023, beating Argentina 22-12 in the Cup final in Los Angeles.
Leroy Carter was the hero for the All Blacks Sevens on a much more dry day two, scoring five tries – including two in the showpiece match – to help his side to their second successive title.
In winning in the USA, the All Blacks Sevens avenged their defeat to Argentina in their home Cup final in Hamilton last month and solidified their position at the top of the standings.
With six of 11 2023 Series tournaments played at the end of the HSBC Los Angeles Sevens, New Zealand have amassed 107 points, 21 more than Los Pumas Sevens, who are now second.
“We’ve been working hard for a few years now,” New Zealand captain Sam Dickson said. “We made a few finals last year and now we’re finally clicking, that hard work’s paying off.”
Moses Leo opened the scoring in the Cup final, outpacing Marcos Moneta to score in the left corner and give the All Blacks Sevens a 5-0 lead.
That soon became 12-0 as Carter crossed for the first time, converted by Akuila Rokolisao, who had notched his 60th Series try in the 33-12 Cup semi-final win against Australia.
The All Blacks Sevens had conceded a 12-point lead in losing the Hamilton Cup final to Argentina in January, but any nerves were eased in first-half stoppage time as Carter went over again.
Los Pumas Sevens hit back with tries from Tobias Wade and Agustin Fraga to set up a tense final two minutes, but it was New Zealand who held their nerve.
Brady Rush made sure of the victory and the tournament as he produced a stunning dummy to fool the Argentine defenders and canter over.
New Zealand forward Dylan Collier said: “It was a different weekend than normal with the delays on the first day due to lightning, so we just had to adjust on the go and we got through the first day and we managed to come here today and play pretty well.
“This season is extremely competitive. There’s eight teams in the running to get in the top four and full credit to all the teams for how much everyone has improved. Every game is tough, and we knew that if we did well this weekend, and next weekend, we can pull away a little bit and create a bit of a buffer and it will go a long way to winning the World Series."
Fiji had been undone by indiscipline in their 20-17 Cup semi-final defeat to Argentina, but it looked as though they were cruising to victory in the bronze final.
Anasa Qaranivalu stormed through the Australian defence to score the first try of the match within the opening minute at the Digital Health Sports Park.
Rokoua Rasaku crossed the whitewash to double the Fijian advantage before half-time and it was 21-0 in the ninth minute when Manueli Maisamoa cut through before handing the ball off to Rauto Vakadranu to score his first Series try.
Australia had less than five minutes to mount a comeback, but they gave it their all as Maurice Longbottom, Dietrich Roache and Nathan Lawson all touched down.
Ultimately, though, Longbottom’s missed conversion from his own score – which hit the crossbar from the right touchline – proved decisive and enabled Fiji to hold on to win bronze.
“These games are crucial,” Fiji coach Ben Gollings said. “They’ve regrouped well, and it was a big performance.”
The men’s teams move straight on to Vancouver, Canada and join the women’s teams for the next round of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2023 on 3-5 March and the pools have been confirmed.
The men’s pools for Vancouver have HSBC Los Angeles winners New Zealand in Pool A alongside Cape Town champions Samoa, Spain and the United States. Pool B includes silver medal winners Argentina with South Africa France and Japan. Bronze medal winners Fiji will meet Great Britain, Uruguay and Kenya in Pool C, while Australia lead Pool D alongside Ireland, Canada and Chile.
The women’s pools for Vancouver have New Zealand, Fiji, Great Britain and Colombia in Pool A. Reigning Series champions Australia will be looking to bounce back in Pool B against France, Japan and Spain. Pool C sees the USA together with Ireland, Canada and Brazil.
Next weekend’s tournament marks the first time the women’s Series will be played inside BC Place Stadium alongside the men in downtown Vancouver.
Tickets for the HSBC Canada Sevens are available from: Home - Canada Sevens