Using a new knockout stage system, New Zealand won the 2018 Sevens World Cup in San Francisco.

New Zealand Win Sevens Rugby World Cup in San Francisco

In both the mens and women’s Rugby Sevens World Cup, New Zealand emerged victorious showing their dominance on the world stage once again. Held in San Francisco, over 102,000 fans attended the event over the three days and they were entertained with some exhilarating sevens rugby.

There was also a new format introduced for the 2018 tournament, with the traditional round-robin phase scrapped for a straight knockout in the opening round of matches.

Whilst it created incredible excitement from the off, this new format divided opinion.

“We’re getting a lot of positive feedback from fans about the drama of knockout,” said World Rugby chief executive Brett Gosper. “It makes each game exciting. It can be brutal for teams, but sport’s brutal.”

England men’s captain said he is “not totally sold on the new format. There are pros and cons to it but it’s up to World Rugby to keep mixing things up and keep improving the game.”

New Zealand coach Clark Laidlaw also said “As a spectacle I’m sure everyone enjoyed it, but when you’ve got coaches and players’ livelihoods at stake, and the format isn’t quite what we’re paid to do, it’s an interesting question.”

Back to back: New Zealand women perform a haha after their victory (Getty Images)

Laidlaw’s criticism is surprising given the success of both the New Zealand men’s and women’s teams.

The men beat Russia, France, Fiji, and in the final, England to secure their second World Cup victory in a row. The final score was 33-12. In 2013 New Zealand once again beat England in the final.

The women beat Mexico, Ireland, the United States and finally France by 29 points to nil. This was also their second World Cup trophy in a row after defeating Canada in 2013.

In an interview after the match, co-captain Tim Mikkelson said; “We knew coming in it was going to be tough. We nearly got knocked out by France but raised it against Fiji. Credit to the coaching staff and the coach who brought the boys together. Both men and women train in the same place and they put pressure on us by winning their final. Credit to England who played amazing this weekend and we’re humbled to get the victory.”
Rugby World’s Sevens World Cup coverage in association with Tudor Watch.
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