Dubai Sevens: No stars, no problem as New Zealand storm to women's title
Black Ferns defeat Canada in the final despite absence of top players
No Portia Woodman. No Michaela Blyde. No Sarah Hirini. But, still, no problems for New Zealand.
Despite coming to the UAE without three of their most outstanding players of recent times, the Black Ferns were too good for everyone else as they retained their Dubai Rugby Sevens title.
Stacey Waaka crossed for two tries, and Gayle Broughton the deciding score as they beat Canada 17-14 in the final.
“It shows the incredible depth we have,” Tyla Nathan-Wong, the New Zealand captain, said of success in the absence of their most celebrated players.
“It is not always just the 14 that come away on tour, it is everyone back home.
"We are always pushing each other, always working extremely hard to make each other better.
“Whenever someone wears this black jersey, they want to step up, no matter what.
"They want to do, not just themselves proud, but you have the family name on your back – you want to do your family proud.
“You never know when you will next get a chance in the black jersey, so it is all about taking your opportunity, and going out and playing as if it is your last game.”
It was hardly a trouble-free weekend for the champions. They were beaten by France in pool play on Friday.
And they were down in the final, until a last-minute turnover, and rousing attack put Broughton in position to score the winner.
“Stacey Waaka has been amazing,” Nathan-Wong said of the player of the final.
“I am so proud of her. Usually she is in the forwards when Michael Blyde is here, but she stepped up this weekend and I look forward to seeing how she goes in Cape Town next week.
“In the final minute, I had full trust in all our girls to be patient, to hang on to that ball, be patient.
“We let the ball do the work, secured the rucks, worked our way down the field, and Gayle did her magic feet and went over the line.”
Updated: December 7, 2019 09:16 PM