Recognition of deserving players, coaches and teams in Paris on the night of Sunday 10 June brought a fitting end to a spectacular ten-part 2017/18 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series season.
While South Africa retained the men's title from the jaws of Fiji, Australia swapped places with New Zealand in scooping the women's version. Two points won it for Blitzbokke and Australia as they posted 182 and 92 points, respectively.
On the night full of pomp and color, issued awards for men’s and women's included top try scorer, fair play, rookie of the year as well as two inaugural awards - Don't Crack Under Pressure Award by TAG Heuer and Coach of the Series award as facilitated by partners Capgemini. Impact Player awards by DHL and naming of dream teams also punctuated the night.
Kenya ended the season placed eight with a record 104 points and during the awards night were called in for the Fair play award for being an exciting team in the season.
Kenya forward Oscar Ouma, who captained Kenya in five legs of ten legs leading the side to silver medals in Singapore and Hong Kong, was named to the men's dream team of the season.
World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said: “It has been another tremendous year for the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, which continues to go from strength to strength.
“I hugely admire the skill and physicality of rugby sevens and thank the players for their outstanding commitment which makes the series such a success. It is great to see the series capturing the imagination on and off the field with year-on-year increases in attendances, broadcast and fan-engagement figures, and that is a great testament to the players, coaches, host unions and everyone involved with the events.
Top try scorers
Women: Portia Woodman (New Zealand) - 43 tries in five rounds
Men: Carlin Isles (USA) - 49 tries in eight rounds
Rookies of the Year
Was voted by fans
Women: Coralie Bertrand (France) - featured in all five rounds and helped Les Bleues enjoy their best season, reaching a first-ever Cup final in Kitakyushu and semi-finals in Langford and Paris to clinch the series bronze medal.
Men: Eroni Sau (Fiji) - beat compatriot Alosio Naduva and Australia’s Ben O’Donnell. Played in all ten rounds and scored 37 tries
Fair Play Award
This award, selected by the match officials, recognizes the teams who showcase rugby’s values of integrity, passion, solidarity, discipline and respect.
TAG Heuer Don't Crack Under Pressure Award
An inaugural award as voted for by fans.
Women: Ellia Green (Australia) - for her try against New Zealand in the Cup final of the HSBC Sydney Sevens that sealed a first-ever series win over Australia in Kitakyushu
Men: Mark Roche (Ireland) - for his final conversion after final play that brought down England 21-19 to win bronze at London 7s
Capgemini Coach of the Series
This is another inaugural category, selected by the series’ global innovation partner Capgemini.
Women: Alan Bunting (New Zealand) - for posting successive victories in the last three rounds of the series in Japan, Canada and France as well as the Commonwealth Games title in April.
Men: Neil Powell (South Africa) - for retaining their series title
DHL Impact Player
Women: Michaela Blythe (New Zealand)
Men: Justin Douglas (Canada)
HSBC Dream Team
The men’s and women’s HSBC Dream Team takes into consideration players’ performances across the season and previous nominations in the individual tournament dream teams.
Women: Portia Woodman and Michaela Blyde (New Zealand), Baizat Khamidova (Russia), Patricia García (Spain), Montserrat Amédée (France), Evania Pelite and Emma Tonegato (Australia)
Men: Kalione Nasoko, Jerry Tuwai, Amenoni Nasilasila, Eroni Sau (all Fiji), Dylan Sage (South Africa), Oscar Ouma (Kenya), Ben O'Donnell (Australia)