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New Zealand Women continued their 2016/2017 roll toward the HSBC World Rugby 7s championship with a narrow 17-14 victory over a stubborn Canadian side to win a gold medal in Japan. It represented the Black Ferns’ third cup win of the four-game circuit, advancing their leading total to 76 points, ten in front of second place Australia.
The Australians finished third for the bronze medal with a tight, 19-17 victory against a resurgent Fiji side. Fijiana would win Most Improved Women’s Team this season. The Russians routed England 31-0 to take fifth place while the USA beat France 31-14 for seventh. The USA had lost earlier to England 26-24 in post pool competition.
Although the Australians finished third, they have not displayed the dominance from last season’s World Rugby championship and their Rio Olympic gold medal performance. In the Japan semifinals, they were shutout 33-0 by Canada in a surprising result.
The talented Portia Woodman of New Zealand was named Player of the Final.
The next Women's 7s event will be in Langford, Canada, on May 27 and May 28. The tour ends in France in June.