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Black Ferns Sevens close on series title

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 29/05/2017

Skipper Tyla Nathan-Wong has lauded the trust and belief in a new-look Black Ferns Sevens squad after New Zealand put themselves on the verge of claiming the women's world series title.

The New Zealanders downed hosts Canada 17-7 in the final in Langford on Monday (NZ time) to make it four wins from five tournaments this season.

They hold a commanding 14-point lead over Canada and defending champions Australia in joint second, with just the French leg to come in four weeks.

They were missing five players in British Columbia - including regular skipper Sarah Goss and all-time series top try-scorer Portia Woodman - unavailable because of Test selection for the Black Ferns.

It meant Nathan-Wong was handed the captaincy for the first time in a world series event.

"It's incredible and I'm so proud of the girls, the effort they put in," she said.

"We just continued to get better every single game. They just had belief and trust in each other, and worked extremely hard and with mana."

Nathan-Wong said those who were picked to replace the absentees stepped up.

"We were missing a few experienced players, but it doesn't matter," she said.

"When you get given that black jersey and you put it on, you grow another arm and leg."

The win was particularly special for Crystal Mayes, who turned 23 on the day of the final (Canada time).

"It's probably one of the better birthdays she's had," Nathan-Wong quipped.

New Zealand went ahead early against Canada, Michaela Blyde crossing in the opening minute for her ninth try of the tournament.

Nathan-Wong extended the lead soon after, but Canada cut the 12-0 deficit through Julia Greenshields.

The win was sealed in the second half when a Ruby Tui steal and offload found Alena Saili, who scored in the corner.

Earlier, the New Zealanders had gone through pool play unbeaten before accounting for Russia 24-0 in the quarter-finals and France 28-5 in the semis.

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