Tyla King closing on HSBC SVNS scoring record

We preview all the action at HSBC SVNS Los Angeles 2024, where the Black Ferns Sevens star could become the all-time series leading female points scorer.

Black Ferns Sevens scrum-half Tyla King needs only nine points in Los Angeles this weekend to become the most prolific woman in HSBC SVNS history.

World Rugby Women’s Sevens Player of the Year 2023 King (née Nathan-Wong) is currently second on the all-time list with 1,348 points from her 45 tournaments to date.

And she will overtake former Canada star Ghislaine Landry (1,356 points) if she scores more than eight points at Dignity Health Sports Park.

Given King averages 29.96 points per tournament across her storied series career and contributed 34 points to New Zealand’s Cup title triumph in Vancouver last weekend, there is a good chance she will set a new benchmark in Los Angeles.

King is not the only Black Ferns Sevens star closing in on a milestone as the action heads to the City of Angels. Portia Woodman-Wickliffe will become the first woman to score 250 series tries if she matches her seven-try haul from BC Place.

As a team, meanwhile, New Zealand need 15 tries to reach 1,500 in series history and again, having scored 18 in the pool stage alone last time out that is well within their collective reach.

Last week, the Black Ferns Sevens scaled the top step of the podium for the first time this season and they begin their quest to go back-to-back in North America at 17:36 local time (GMT-8) on Friday against Pool A rivals South Africa.

New Zealand beat the Springbok Women’s Sevens 35-5 at the same stage in Vancouver – with King contributing eight points – that result coming after a 40-7 defeat of Brazil, who they are due to face on day two in Los Angeles (kick-off 12:48 local time).

The Black Ferns Sevens’ Pool A campaign will conclude against Fiji on Saturday (kick-off 17:24 local time).

Fiji will hope to build on their sixth-place finish at BC Place and put further distance between themselves and the bottom four in the standings. Brazil, meanwhile, arrive in Los Angeles in ninth and six points adrift of guaranteed safety, having finished eighth in Vancouver.

Blockbuster Pool B

Fans heading to Dignity Health Sports Park or watching on from home should keep an eye on Pool B, which looks set to serve up some mouth-watering matches on days one and two.

Featuring three teams from the top six of the women’s standings, and two of the top three, every match is sure to be keenly contested. And the pool, and HSBC SVNS Los Angeles, is set to start with a bang when series leaders Australia meet Ireland on Friday, in a repeat of the Perth Cup final (kick-off 16:30 local time).

Both teams start the weekend with a point to prove. Australia having lost a Cup semi-final for the first time this season en route to fourth in Vancouver, while Ireland failed to back up their historic performance in Perth and missed out on the quarter-finals altogether.

If Ireland are to rediscover the form they showed in Australia in January then they will need to find a way to cope without Amee Leigh Murphy Crowe.

The try-scoring machine suffered an injury in her side’s opening match in Vancouver, and she has not recovered in time to take part in Los Angeles. Murphy Crowe and Vicki Wall have been replaced in the Ireland squad by Katie Heffernan and debutant Alana Fitzpatrick.

Next up for Ireland in Los Angeles will be an encounter with Vancouver silver medallists France on day two (kick-off 12:04 local time), a team they beat four times out of five during the 2023 series but are yet to face during SVNS 2024.

France will get their Pool B campaign, and their latest quest for a first Cup title, underway against Japan in the second match of day one.

And after their meeting with Ireland they will contest a re-run of their Vancouver Cup semi-final against Australia, in which Les Bleues Sevens held off a late comeback to win 21-19.

Maddison Levi scored twice in that meeting at BC Place and she needs four more tries to become the first woman to touch down 30 times this season.

The final match of Pool B will also pit the latest two women to join the 50-tournament club in opposition. One week after Charlotte Caslick became the first woman to achieve that milestone, her long-time Australia team-mate Sharni Smale (née Williams) and France’s Chloé Pelle will add their names to an illustrious and exclusive list.

USA ready to respond

In Pool C, all eyes will be on the final match of the pool stage and a blockbuster encounter between North American rivals USA and Canada (kick-off 18:08 local time) on day two.

The pair met in the Cup quarter-finals in Vancouver last weekend, when a Chloe Daniels conversion ultimately proved the difference as Canada held off a USA comeback to win a nail-biting contest 12-10.

Canada used that result as a springboard to a first podium appearance in four years, beating Australia to claim the bronze medal with Krissy Scurfield particularly impressive.

However, the Women’s Eagles Sevens will hope to turn the tables on home soil and head into Los Angeles in high spirits having recovered from defeat to their old rivals to beat Fiji in the fifth-place play-off.

Their results in Vancouver mean the teams head to Dignity Health Sports Park tied on 48 points in the overall standings, behind only Australia, New Zealand and France.

With one of Canada or USA making the semi-finals in each of the four tournaments in SVNS 2024 to date, whoever comes out on top on Saturday will emerge with the confidence that they can make it at least that far in Los Angeles.

“We know as a team that we’ve improved since Perth,” USA head coach Emilie Bydwell said after Vancouver. “We’re very clear on what we’ve improved and what our opportunities are.

“The challenge is to go out [in Los Angeles] and respond, not take a step backward. I’m proud of the players for doing that.”

Hosts USA will get their home tournament underway against Spain on day one (kick-off 18:20 local time), a team they have not lost to on the series in more than five years.

They will then hope to get back to winning ways against Great Britain on Saturday (kick-off 13:32 local time), having lost their most recent encounter 24-10 in Perth. That was USA’s first defeat to Great Britain since September 2021.

Canada also lost, twice, to Great Britain in Western Australia but they rectified those results at BC Place last weekend, running in six tries to win 38-0. The teams meet again at 17:58 local time on day one.

Great Britain, who welcome back Shona Campbell for Los Angeles, hold a six-point cushion on the bottom four with only three tournaments left until the Grand Finals in Madrid. That fact makes their final Pool C match – against 10th-placed Spain at 17:46 local time on day two – crucial for both teams.

Spain head into Los Angeles on the back of a seventh-place finish in Vancouver, having ended their 24-match losing run in the pool stage.

Take part in all of the on-field and off-field action in LA with the HSBC SVNS Predictor Game. Making team and player predictions throughout each weekend, gain points based on their performance and compete against rugby sevens fans from across the world on the global leaderboard.