Seven players to watch at HSBC Cape Town Sevens
As the world's best men's and women's teams arrive in Cape Town from Dubai, we look at seven players who are set to shine this weekend.
The IRB Women’s Sevens Series, as it was known in the beginning, kicked off in Dubai on 30 November, 2012 with Australia beating the Netherlands 24-12 in a match refereed by Gabriel Lee of Hong Kong.
Core teams Australia, Canada, England, the Netherlands, New Zealand and USA competed in the event and were joined by six invitational teams in Brazil, China, France, Russia, South Africa and Spain.
Ten years on the women’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series will reach its 50th tournament in Cape Town this weekend with a handful of players still going strong in Sharni Williams (Australia), Luiza Campos (Brazil), Bianca Farella (Canada) and Tyla Nathan-Wong (New Zealand).
Williams, 34, and Bianca Farella, 30, are poised to play in their 42nd Series event in Cape Town, and the former is the most decorated of the quartet.
Williams and team-mate Charlotte Caslick now possess a full set of gold medals in sevens, having added the World Series, Commonwealth Games and Rugby World Cup Sevens gold medals to the Olympic title they won in Rio in 2016.
Nathan-Wong is not far beyond the pair on 37 World Series tournament appearances and, at 28, is six years Williams’ junior.
Campos has also had a 10-year international sevens career but with Brazil not having had quite as many opportunities to play on the World Series, the 32-year-old has clocked up the fewest events (30).
To celebrate the milestone of 50 tournaments, we take a look at some of the numbers from the inaugural campaign in 2012-13 to the present day.
0 – Points conceded by Australia in winning the Sydney title in 2018, the only time a team has won a Series event – men’s or women’s – without conceding a single point
2 – Nations to win the overall Series: Australia (2015-16, 2018 and 2022) and New Zealand (2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15, 2016-17, 2019 and 2020)
3 – New Zealand’s Kayla McAlister scored the first hat-trick in women’s Series history, against Australia in the Cup semi-finals in the inaugural event in Dubai
5 – Different Cup winners in women’s Series history: New Zealand, England, Australia, Canada and USA in chronological order
7 – Australia’s Emilee Cherry was the top try-scorer in the inaugural tournament with seven
10 – Cup finals refereed by Spain’s Alhambra Nievas, the most in women’s Series history
13 – The number of penalties kicked in Series history
25 – Most points scored in a women’s Series match, achieved on five occasions – twice by New Zealand’s Portia Woodman. Team-mate Michaela Blyde, Australia’s Emma Tonegato and Russia’s Alena Tiron are the others to cross for five tries in a match
27 – Cup titles won by New Zealand in Series history, from the inaugural event in Dubai to their last success in Toulouse in May 2022
35 – Cup finals reached by New Zealand, six more than Australia who won 13 of their 29 title deciders
38 – The longest unbeaten run in women’s Series history set by New Zealand between April 2018 and April 2019. They matched their 37 consecutive wins tally from 2014-15 before drawing 17-17 with Russia and losing 29-7 to France in Kitakyushu
41 – The winning margin in the first Cup final as New Zealand beat South Africa 41-0 in Dubai, a match refereed by Australia’s Amy Perrett
46 – The biggest margin in a Cup final on the women’s Series, New Zealand beating Australia 46-0 in Langford in the 2018 Series
49 – Tournaments played in women’s Series history
52 – Most tries scored by a player in a single Series, by Portia Woodman in the 2014-15 campaign
136 – The number of matches played in the 2012-13 Series
205 – Tries scored by New Zealand’s Portia Woodman, the highest in women’s Series history
269 – The record number of points for a single season, held by Ghislaine Landry in 2016-17
1,184 – Tries scored in Series history by New Zealand, 14 more than next-best Australia
1,356 – Ghislaine Landry’s tally of points for Canada, the most by a player in women’s Series history
1,613 – The number of matches played across the first 49 rounds
4,995 – Conversions kicked in women’s Series history
8,905 – Tries scored in the women’s Series to date