HSBC SVNS 2024: Australia back to their best in Los Angeles; hosts start with win

We recap all the action as Australia put in a statement performance and the USA begin with a win on day one at HSBC SVNS Los Angeles.

Australia began their HSBC SVNS Los Angeles weekend in style, defeating Ireland by 31-0 after a fourth-place finish in Vancouver.

Righting the wrongs of their final loss on home soil in Perth against the same opposition, the SVNS series leaders scored five tries to take an early lead in Pool B.

Hosts USA, the last champions on American soil in 2020, eased to a 40-5 victory over Spain in their Pool C opener, while last week’s gold medallists New Zealand also started strongly with a 41-5 win against South Africa in Pool A.

Pool A: King edges closer to history

New Zealand’s win over bottom seed South Africa saw them score seven tries as the Black Ferns Sevens started their weekend with a bang.

Four-time champions in the USA, the Black Ferns Sevens cantered to a 29-0 lead at the break, Shiray Kaka shining in attack as she showed her footwork for her brace. The dominance continued in the second half as Kelsey Teneti and Mahina Paul crossed, Ayanda Malinga pouncing on a fortunate turnover for South Africa’s only points of the game. 

Two conversions for Tyla King in that game means she requires just five more points to become the all-time leading point-scorer in women’s series history.

Brazil won 12-5 in their opening game against Fiji to build on the improvements made in Vancouver.

Both sides looked to play their typical offloading game in the opening half, but Bianca Silva finally broke through to take a 7-0 lead for Brazil at the break.

Fiji looked the more likely to score in the second, however Thalita Da Silva Costa had other ideas, breaking away to extend Brazil’s lead to 12. Fiji replied with a late score, however the win was Brazil’s.

Pool B: Australia avenge Perth loss  

Australia dispatched Ireland 31-0 in a statement performance in the opening game of the weekend in LA.

A three-try first half saw Maddison Levi go over twice with Isabella Nasser adding the third just before the break, Tia Hinds converting twice for a 19-0 lead at the break.

The Australian dominance continued straight after the break with Faith Nathan’s try, and the SVNS series leaders never took their foot of their gas, the inevitable Maddison Levi completing her hat-trick and a stellar Aussie performance.

In the second game of Pool B, Vancouver runners-up France began their weekend with a 35-7 win over a spirited Japan.

Joanna Grisez opened the scoring before Camille Grassineau quickly added a second, courtesy of a skilful offload from Séraphine Okemba. Japan replied quickly, a kick pass finding Sakura Mizutani on the left wing to trail by seven at the break.

France reasserted themselves in the second half through Carla Neisen, but Japan made them work hard in defence. More points came for Les Bleues however, scoring two more converted tries for a 28-point victory.

Pool C: USA start strong at home

USA’s victory over Spain began with a typical team try, finished by Sarah Levy to give the host nation a 7-0 lead.

Fresh off breaking a 24-game losing streak last weekend, Spain asked plenty of questions of USA’s defence but remained without a score as Sammy Sullivan and Ilona Maher added a second and third for the Women's Eagles Sevens.

Maher’s third from a brilliant Levy offload all but sealed the result, and while Juana Stella got Spain on the board, the USA set down a marker on home soil with two more scores from Alex Sedrick and Kris Thomas.

Meanwhile, Canada resisted a Great Britain comeback to win their opening game by 20-10.

Krissy Scurfield opened the scoring early before Carissa Norsten scored a stunner, fly-hacking twice and winning the foot race with Jaz Joyce to add to Canada’s lead. One more try saw them lead 15-0 at the break.

Great Britain scored just seven tries in Vancouver, their worst-ever SVNS return, but wrestled some possession back and looked threatening in the second half as Emma Uren crossed. Canada, however, were too clinical, Alysha Corrigan taking the lead too far ahead for Uren’s second to change things as the clock went red.