The HSBC Kitakyushu Sevens showed the unpredictability of sevens with plenty of upsets over the two days as Spain beat Australia en route to a first Cup semi-final since 2012, invitational team China reached their first-ever Cup quarter-final and France their first Cup final.
France's challenge may have ended there as New Zealand ran out 24-12 winners to successfully defend their title and win back-to-back gold medals after they beat Australia to win the inaugural Commonwealth Games women's sevens gold medal a week earlier.
Playmaker Tyla Nathan-Wong again orchestrated the victory for the Black Ferns Sevens, creating opportunities for those around her before making certain of victory when she chased her own chip through the French defence to score the fourth try at the Mikuni World Stadium on Sunday, and was duly named HSBC Player of the Final.
Nathan-Wong was delighted on two fronts afterwards, firstly with the “incredible” feeling of what she and her team-mates have achieved over the past two weeks but also what the tournament says about the spectacle that is women's sevens.
An amazing product
“It is an incredible feeling, the girls did amazing this weekend,” she admitted. “It has been a long month, we had the Commonwealth Games and then to come here to Japan ... it is always incredible to be here, the people are amazing, the food is great and the girls have put on a performance.
“The support we receive is amazing, I love this tournament. The fans come out, we have got a whole lot of Kiwi girls who actually play over here in Japan, so it is awesome to see the community come out and support women’s rugby.
“There has been some incredible games over the last two days, some massive surprises and that just shows how women’s rugby is growing all around the world and what a spectator sport it is. Full credit to ever single female player out here this weekend.
“The competition has stepped up, Spain beating Aussie and coming through to the semi-final and China making the top eight ... it is just showing how amazing women's rugby is.”
The next round of the HSBC World Rugby Women's Sevens Series takes place in Langford, Canada, on 12-13 May.