New Zealand Men going for gold – Women want Rio revenge
The dominant force

New Zealand have been the most consistently successful side in rugby sevens over the last two decades, in both the men’s and women’s game.

Olympic gold is just about the only thing missing from the honours board.

Seven’s pedigree (women)

6 World Rugby Sevens Series titles

2 Rugby World Cup Sevens titles

1 Commonwealth Games gold medal

Seven’s pedigree (men)

13 World Rugby Sevens Series titles

3 Rugby World Cup Sevens titles

5 Commonwealth Games gold medals

Rio regrets

While the Black Ferns Sevens claimed the silver medal in Rio, New Zealand’s men fell short of expectations in finishing fifth.

A return of three wins and three losses for the medal contenders shocked fans. Losing Sonny Bill Williams to an Achilles injury did not help their cause.

"I think this is a learning curve, the first Olympics,” legendary head coach Sir Gordon Tietjens said.

Record breakers

The Black Ferns Sevens once enjoyed an incredible 38-game unbeaten run on the World Series from April 2018 to April 2019.

In February 2020, All Blacks Sevens co-captain Tim Mikkelson appeared in his 90th Series tournament, becoming the team’s most capped player.

In-form and ominous

In the recent Trans-Tasman Sevens Series, the All Blacks Sevens won all six matches in their head-to-head with Australia’s men.

Australia won the women’s gold medal match against New Zealand in Brazil five years ago. But the Black Ferns Sevens were in dominant mood in Auckland winning five of the six contests.

Caleb Clarke has returned to rugby sevens in a bid to help New Zealand achieve Olympic glory.

The giant winger gained five caps for the All Blacks in 2020 on the back of a superb Super Rugby Aotearoa campaign.

Portia purring

Portia Woodman scored a hat-trick in her first match of international sevens since November 2018 in the first game of the Trans-Tasman Sevens.

Woodman is a star of the Black Ferns setup, in sevens and 15s, and in 2020 was named World Rugby Women’s Sevens Player of the Decade.

But in the Rio final, Australia capitalised on her yellow card to win gold at New Zealand’s expense. Can she claim revenge this time?