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The Black Ferns Sevens have added a fifth HSBC World Sevens Series title to their ever growing list of achievements.

The Rio silver medallists confirmed their season winning effort – their fifth in seven years – following their victory of China in the quarterfinal at the Biarritz Sevens.

They went on win their semi-final against Canada but were undone by the USA in the final, going down 26-10.

The second placing saw them finish the season on top of the ladder with 110 points, while the USA finished second with 100 and Canada was third with 94 points.

New Zealand captain Sarah Hirini had a personal milestone when playing in the 21-12 semifinal win over Canada. She became the first to play 200 games in the women's series.

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She said after the final: "This is a quality USA team and the few basic errors we made proved very costly. I'd be lying if I said it didn't hurt but we've now got to celebrate a world series win which was the goal of ours from the start of the season.

"It's been an awesome 12 months. It's been challenging at times but we've used most of the girls on our roster and that's a huge testament to those girls. We're pretty happy to be bringing home a series title – our fifth in seven years," she said.

Meanwhile New Zealand's world number one equestrian rider Tim Price has added another top trophy to the cabinet – this time taking out the Luhmuhlen Horse Trials in Germany.

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Above: Tim Price and Ascona M in action. Credit Libby Law Photography/ESNZ

Price and his grey mare Ascona M picked up time penalties in the showjumping but still finished 2.1 penalty points ahead of runner-up Tom McEwen from Great Britain.

“I am delighted with my mare – she was super,” he said.

“I’m so happy that things went so well again this year. It makes me really proud that Ascona has performed so consistently in all three phases. She does have a bit of an unconventional jumping technique, but that’s because she always tries so hard to do everything right.” 

Earlier this month the Rio Olympian was crowned the new world No.1 and last year won the Burghley (CCI5*-L) Horse Trials, marking the start of a points haul that would culminate with the top ranking.

Shot putter Tom Walsh was also in fine form in Europe, recording his 8th best ever throw to win the Janusz Kusociński Memorial in Poland.

Walsh heaved a mammoth 22.18m effort to comfortably seal the win. The Timaru local has a personal best of 22.67m.

In nearby Belgium the men’s and women’s Black Sticks were in action.

The women’s Black Sticks beat the home team 3-0 in a convincing display to seal their first win in the European leg of the FIH Pro League.

The two sides entered the second half tied at nil all, however an Olivia Merry second half hattrick ensured that the Black Sticks Women would take the three competition points.  

“We were able to continue to build on things from the match against The Netherlands and will look to build on this again when we take on Great Britain,” said Merry.

The New Zealand men’s team wasn’t so fortunate, going down 4-0 in their matchup with Belgium.

Belgium dominated the match from start to finish and had the majority of the attacking play with 15 shots on goal compared to the Black Sticks 6. 

In France the Football Ferns now face a must-win encounter against Cameroon in their final group game of the Women’s Football World Cup the after falling to a 2-0 loss against Canada on Sunday morning in France.

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The New Zealand side is sitting joint bottom of Group E with two defeats but could still progress to the knockout rounds with a win over Cameroon as one of the best third-placed teams if other results also go their way.

The Canadians dominated all of the telling statistics and earned the win their showing deserved with second-half strikes to Jessie Fleming and Nichelle Prince.

Coach Tom Sermanni was honest in his post-match assessment but is not giving up hope of making it out of pool play.

“We were just outplayed by a better team on the night,” he said.


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