New Zealand's Sarah Goss downplays talk of World Series sweep despite clinching Dubai Rugby Sevens title
Black Ferns beat Canada 26-14 in final on Friday, a month after lifting trophy in United States
Sarah Goss played down the chances of her New Zealand side winning every leg of the World Series season, despite making it two from two in Dubai.
The Black Ferns held the series lead when they arrived in the UAE to train in Abu Dhabi last week, having won the opening tournament in the United States last month.
They were perfect again as they won the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens, beating Canada 26-14 in the final.
There are four tournaments remaining in the series, in Australia, Japan, Canada and France.
Goss said that winning a clean sweep would be tough, and said the focus is instead on qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, as one of the top four teams in the final standings.
“I’d really like to, but obviously you don’t know with sevens, as it is very challenging to do that,” New Zealand captain Goss said.
“We knew that we wanted to start the series off, with this being Olympic qualifying year, it has put us in really good stead for that.
“We are just going to go home, enjoy having Christmas and New Year, then come back. We get to play at Hamilton next year, in front of friends and family, which we don’t actually get to do.”
The win continued the bizarre sequence of New Zealand and Australia alternating winning the Dubai title stretching back to 2012 – a run Goss said she “would love to break” next year by retaining the trophy.
Australia finished third, after beating United States in the bronze-medal match, while Canada, the runners up, are the only other side to have won the women’s title in Dubai.
Tyla Nathan-Wong scored two tries in the final, with Theresa Fitzpatrick and Gayle Broughton also crossing.
The New Zealanders celebrated in their traditional way, performing a Haka after being presented with the trophy.
“It’s extremely special,” Goss said. “Dubai would have to be one of my favourite tournaments, with the crowd and the whole organisation of the tournament.
“To take that trophy back home to New Zealand again, I’m massively proud of the girls.”
The final was preceded by an elaborate rendition of the two national anthems, with the New Zealand players in particular enjoying the unusual take on God Defend New Zealand.
“We are a pretty jokey bunch, we don’t take things too seriously, and we have a couple of girls who love that kind of hype,” Goss said.
“The likes of Ruby Tui would have loved singing that national anthem three times in a row. That is just how are group is.
"We were in the changing room and there were songs going, singing and dancing, right before that final.
“It makes our team special. Nothing is too serious, it is about going out there and having fun, because we are only playing rugby at the end of the day.”
Michaela Blyde, the recently-crowned women’s sevens player of the year, became the fifth player to score 100 tries in the history of the series, in the morning quarter-final win over Russia on Pitch 2.
“I have so much more to learn in the game, with my own personal skills,” Blyde said.
“I will continue all those one per-centers back at home and hopefully be better for the next tournament.”
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Updated: November 30, 2018 07:19 PM