The HSBC SVNS 2024 Northern American tour concluded in style on the weekend as Dignity Health Sports Park played host to three stunning days of rugby sevens.

France’s recent resurgence in the men’s series continued in Los Angeles as they overcame a pool-stage defeat to win a first Cup title in 19 years.

Les Bleus Sevens’ 21-0 defeat of Great Britain in the men’s Cup final came after the Black Ferns Sevens completed back-to-back tournament victories, beating their old rivals Australia 29-14 in the showpiece women’s match.

As the 24 teams head home for some well-deserved rest and recuperation ahead of the start of the Cathay/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens next month, we recap all of the action from an enthralling weekend.

King reigns supreme

It was perhaps a surprise that when Tyla King’s crowning moment came, it was through a try and not a sweetly struck conversion.

King started the tournament needing nine points to overtake Ghislaine Landry and become the top points scorer in women’s series history.

Four conversions hauled her level with Landry on 1,356 series points before, in the closing stages of the opening half of New Zealand’s second match in Los Angeles, against Brazil, she took a pass from Portia Woodman-Wickliffe and gleefully dove over the line.

It took her clear of the former Canada star and King wasn’t done there, knocking over the resulting conversion and contributing a further 22 points – including four in the Cup final win over Australia – to help the Black Ferns Sevens to back-to-back gold medals.

King finished SVNS Los Angeles with 1,385 career series points, 29 points clear of Landry in second place and a whopping 150 ahead of the next active player – team-mate Woodman-Wickliffe in third.

Black Ferns Sevens on song

Following on from their Cup title win at BC Place last month, this was another imperious three days from the Black Ferns Sevens.

Aside from their history-maker King, the consistency of their performances over the three days at Dignity Health Sports Park was highlighted by the fact that New Zealand had three players in the top 10 of the Impact table come Sunday night.

Michaela Blyde was the highest Black Ferns Sevens player in that list, in joint third, her 12 tries in Los Angeles coming off 18 carries and nine breaks. As a team, meanwhile, New Zealand scored a tournament-high 35 tries from only 38 visits to their opponents’ 22.

With only two tournaments to play before the HSBC SVNS 2024 Grand Finals in Madrid, Australia’s lead at the top of the women’s standings is down to just four points and the Black Ferns Sevens appear to be hitting form at exactly the right time.

Golden France looking up

Another team that transferred their form from Vancouver south to Los Angeles was France’s men, who stormed to their first Cup title in 19 years at Dignity Health Sports Park.

But they were made to do it the hard way after a narrow pool-stage defeat to Fiji on day two left them needing to beat USA in front of their own fans in Saturday’s Cup quarter-finals.

Les Bleus Sevens’ clinical 14-0 victory against the hosts, secured via tries from Antoine Dupont and Andy Timo, highlighted the unrelenting defence that enabled them to etch their names in the record books.

Across the three days in south LA, France completed 100 tackles – second only to South Africa – and their completion rate of 77.5 per cent was bettered only by Argentina (81.3 per cent) and Great Britain (80.2 per cent).

That defensive stubbornness enabled France to win a series of close matches when it really mattered, not least the semi-final against Ireland in which they turned a nervy series of possession on their own line into the try that ultimately won the game.

Having won 36 points from a possible 40 in North America, Les Bleus have moved up to fourth in the standings while any worries about relegation have almost vanished.

Great Britain find form in LA

The men’s Cup final proved to be a step too far for Great Britain, whose run to the showpiece match came amid a growing injury list that prevented head coach Tony Roques from naming a full replacements’ bench.

When Tom Emery – whose tireless work across the three days ensured he finished the weekend top of the men’s Impact table – succumbed to a muscle injury at the end of the first half it swung the momentum firmly in France’s favour. Les Bleus Sevens opened the scoring within 30 seconds and never looked back, going on to win 21-0.

That should not detract from a stunning tournament for Great Britain, however, who – like Cup winners France – boosted their chances of survival on the back of rock-solid defence.

Ninth-placed Great Britain are now just a point behind USA in eighth in the race for safety, with only two tournaments to play before the top eight are confirmed for the Grand Finals.

Spain did their own hopes of playing in HSBC SVNS 2025 no harm with a fourth-place finish in Los Angeles and there was a rare sight on Sunday when an all-northern hemisphere men’s HSBC Dream Team was named.

Brazil boost survival hopes

The race to make it into the top eight and avoid a promotion-relegation tournament in Madrid at the end of May is equally as tight in the women’s standings.

Brazil backed up their eighth-place finish in Vancouver by qualifying for the quarter-finals for a second successive weekend and then went on to beat Ireland in the seventh-place play-off.

Thalia Costa twice crossed the whitewash while Bianca Silva and Raquel Kochhann also scored tries to condemn the Perth winners to another disappointing result.

Importantly for ninth-placed Brazil, their eight precious points cut the deficit to Great Britain in eighth in the standings to just a single point as Ciaran Beattie’s side finished 10th.

With South Africa climbing off the bottom of the standings and into 10th thanks to their sixth-place finish in LA, and Japan beating Great Britain to ninth, it means only 13 points separate eighth from 11th with two tournaments left before the Grand Finals.

Maher drives USA to bronze

It was a weekend that promised so much for USA in both the men’s and women’s tournaments, and home fans would have left Dignity Health Sports Park happy following the Women’s Eagles Sevens’ run to the bronze medal.

Coming on the back of a heart-breaking defeat to Australia in the Cup semi-finals, a second victory in two days against North American rivals Canada would certainly have lifted the hosts’ spirits.

USA’s performance was built on the all-round brilliance of Ilona Maher, who finished the weekend with more carries than any other female player (29), the second most offloads (eight) and joint-third on the try-scorers’ list with six.

The Men’s Eagles Sevens finished a disappointing eighth, but Perry Baker wrote another chapter in his storied career as he scored five tries to move into second on the all-time list of men’s series try scorers with 280.

Fifty up for Smale, Pelle

One week on from taking her place in the history books, Charlotte Caslick welcomed two new members into the women’s series’ 50-tournament club.

Sharni Smale was the first of the pair to pass the milestone as she started Australia’s 31-0 victory against Ireland in the opening match of the weekend.

In the very next match, Chloé Pelle became the third woman to appear in 50 series tournaments and played an important role in the first two tries of France’s 35-7 win against Japan.

The half-centurions met in the final match of Pool A as Smale scored the opening try to set Australia on their way to a 17-14 win.