Last-gasp victories for France and Brazil over New Zealand and Japan respectively were among the highlights of an action-packed women’s programme at the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens 2019.
And the good news is that both matches will be available to watch again in full, thanks to our live streaming service this Wednesday, at 19:00 BST, on the official World Rugby Sevens Facebook page and World Rugby’s YouTube channel.
New Zealand 14-19 France
Defending champions New Zealand were bidding to become the first women’s team to retain their crown in Dubai when they met France in a Pool C decider at the end of day two at 7he Sevens Stadium.
France had beaten the Black Ferns Sevens only once, in Kitakyushu eight months previously, but went in front in only the second minute as Séraphine Okemba crossed for a converted try.
However, New Zealand hit back before half-time and edged into a 14-7 lead at the break as Kelly Brazier scored two converted tries, the second of which came with time up on the clock.
Okemba touched down again in the opening stages of the second half to give France hope and when Joanna Grisez finished off a fine team move, they had a 19-14 lead.
New Zealand had three minutes to find a riposte but despite spending much of it inside French territory they were unable to breach their opponents’ defensive line.
France’s reward for topping Pool C was a quarter-final against Canada, who beat them 19-7. New Zealand faced Fiji in the last eight, winning 24-10 and went on to beat the USA and then Canada to become the first team to go back-to-back in Dubai.
Defeat to France in Dubai remains the Black Ferns Sevens’ last on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.
Japan 12-14 Brazil
Day three in Dubai began with the 11th-place play-off between invitational side Japan and Brazil.
Neither team had won a match during the pool stage, Japan losing to France, New Zealand and England, with Brazil beaten by USA, Canada and Russia.
However, the two served up an action-packed encounter on day three, which began with a bang as Bianca Silva – one of World Rugby’s Unstoppables in its new Women in Rugby campaign – gave Brazil a second-minute lead with a converted try.
Japan responded before half-time through Iroha Nagata and when Fumiko Otake scored two minutes into the second half, the Sakura Sevens had the lead.
But Hana Nagata would be made to pay for missing the resulting conversion when Silva raced away to score her second try of the match with time running out.
Captain Raquel Kochhann held her nerve to convert and give Brazil their first win of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2020.