While the All Blacks don’t offer much joy to Kiwi rugby fans, it was felt that the Kiwi Sevens teams would provide some light in the form of gold medals.
It was not to be. With New Zealand rugby coach Mark Robinson in the stands, they both settled for bronze at the Commonwealth Games after their agonizing semi-final defeats.
This is the bad news.
The good news is that they both got a chance to bury the disappointment of failing to meet expectations at the Sevens World Cup in Cape Town next month.
“Jeez, we’re close, and when we put it together, watch out, for we’ll go on.”
Those were steely words from All Blacks Sevens captain Sam Dixon shortly after his team beat Australia 26-12 in the Bronze Medal Match in Coventry on Monday (NZT).
“As we saw, some easy mistakes in the Fiji match that we were disappointed with. But, far, it could have gone either way in the end, and we can celebrate the gold now.”
It’s the very tight margins of the Sevens, the ones that make it so good and so good at the same time…,” Black Ferns Sevens captain Sarah Herini said after her team’s semi-final loss 17-12 to Australia.
Both teams had golden chances to win the semi-finals, however they failed to clutch in the heat of the moment.
The captains have taken sleep in the wake of their defeats, but they will serve as valuable lessons as they prepare to defend their world titles between September 9-11.
It is not yet clear if the All Blacks Sevens will get Scott Curry in Cape Town, after he injured his hamstring while trying to chase Fijian Filipe Sauturaga on his way to the line.
“He passed the power of work. I hope it’s just a little pressure, and we’ll get him back for the World Cup,” said coach Clark Laidlow.
The Black Ferns Sevens had no sweat injuries, although winger Portia Woodman planned to tone down the bronze medal celebrations due to the ankle sprain he injured during his championship opening win.
Woodman didn’t waste much time looking to Cape Town after the team won the bronze, acknowledging he had a lot of work to do in certain areas.
“It’s heartbreaking, and we don’t hold it against anyone else, we know we have a lot of work to do in the next six weeks leading up to the World Cup,” she said.
“I think just getting our connections. We have a few girls who are still learning to play at the top event. Getting old girls with the new girls and getting those connections [is important]. “
Focusing on raising less experienced players on the team, Woodman made reference to her roller coaster ride at the Rio Olympics, when Australia flipped the Black Ferns Sevens in the final.
They learned the lessons, being world champions in San Francisco in 2018, and Olympic champions in Tokyo last year.
I was shocked by the loss of that tournament [in Rio]We put a lot of pressure on ourselves. I think to myself, just to go up to the little girls and make them realize that it’s not just about them, it’s a complete championship, a complete team effort.
“Let them feel that way [of losing]But I’m back today too.”