New Zealand won a tense final 10-7 against France to defend their Cathay/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens title, win their first Cup title of the season, and complete a tournament double, after the Black Ferns Sevens showed them the way, as the HSBC SVNS 2024 series bid farewell to the Hong Kong Stadium in style.

The first half ended 0-0, but a try from Scott Curry broke the deadlock, a second from Cody Vai after a French mistake securing the gold medal for New Zealand, just as the women had earlier in the evening.

In the bronze final, a first-half brace from Hugo Lennox secured a podium position for Ireland as they beat Australia by 14-5.

The medal matches brought an end to three incredible days of rugby in Hong Kong, with just one place left to confirm at the Grand Final in Madrid, the USA, Great Britain and Spain all still in contention.

New Zealand edge France for gold 

A tense and nervy first half ended scoreless as both sides cancelled each other out in the opening half with a number of unforced errors. The best chance fell New Zealand’s way, but France’s Aaron Grandidier recovered well to cover tackle and snuff out the chance for the defending champions.

The second period kicked off with similar tension, but France gave away two quick penalties and New Zealand eventually broke the deadlock through a limping Scott Curry as they swung the ball from right to left.

They didn’t have to wait long for the second, however, a loose pass from Stephen Parez Edo Martin picked up by the All Blacks Sevens, and Cody Vai finding the space to extend their lead.

France had a passage of possession as the clocked ticked down, but, as they knocked the ball forward with less than a minute to go, it looked like New Zealand had wrapped it up.

But France brought some last-minute drama, stealing the ball with moments left. Varian Pasquet powered away to score, but just too late for them to mount one final attack to find a winner.  

In the semi-finals: France too good for Ireland, New Zealand beat Australia

France had earlier put on a strong performance to beat Ireland 26-10 and head to their second final in as many tournaments.

Andy Timo was the creator for France’s opening score, his impressive footwork followed by a perfect for Pasquet to power through to open the scoring.

Ireland came back soon after, creating space wide right for Zac Ward to cross. But from then on, the second seeds couldn’t find their rhythm just as France got into theirs, Parez Edo Martin adding a second before half time and two more in quick succession after the break from Antoine Zeghdar and Joachim Trouabal.

France were resolute in defence as Ireland looked for a positive note to take into the bronze match, and they eventually found it as Terry Kennedy collected a cross field nudge to finish in the corner.

A dart down the blindside was all Dylan Collier needed to open the scoring for New Zealand against Australia in their semi-final, but Maurice Longbottom used his feet to beat his man, converting his own try to wrestle the lead back.

New Zealand had one more attack before the break, and while James Turner brilliantly denied Andrew Knewstubb inches short of the line, a midfield scrum gave the All Blacks Sevens the chance to go ahead as Tepaea Cook Savage dummied and scored.

New Zealand took charge of the contest in the second half, Vai and Tone Ng Shiu both dotting down as the defending champions advanced to the final in search of their first gold medal of the season.

Bronze final: Lennox brace wins bronze for Ireland

Hugo Lennox’s double in as many minutes took Ireland into a 14-0 lead at the break. His second was an impressive solo effort, chipping and chasing into space in the backfield, nudging the ball past Turner to dot down.

Australia struggled to find a foothold in the game in the second half with unforced errors costing them dearly. Henry Palmer managed to salvage a try as the clock ran down, but with the missed conversion there was no chance of an Australian win.