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Paris proves tough challenge for Aussie Sevens

15 May 2017

RUGBY SEVENS: The Australian Men’s Sevens team have finished their Paris campaign in tenth position.

Looking to reassert themselves after a disappointing Day One in Paris, the Qantas Australian Men’s Sevens team brought in Tom Kingston after having lost John Porch and Charlie Taylor to head knocks.

With wins over Japan and Wales, the Aussie 7s reached the Challenge Trophy Final but were unable to over come the eventual Challenge Trophy victors, Argentina. 

Head Coach Andy Friend said: "We battled through two wins this morning against Japan and Wales and then in the third game we were totally outplayed by Argentina. We weren’t cohesive and we paid the penalty there."

"Injuries had an impact but we can’t blame that. At the end of the day we need to look at how we prepared and came into the tournament. We’ll work on our ability as a team to communicate both in attack and defence. The talk wasn’t out there, and that’s just an attitude thing.

"In London [next weekend], we’re going to have to fight hard because we’ll have two strong teams against us in the Pools. We want to get out of the bottom eight and back into the top eight, and win quarters, semis and then get into the final which we haven’t done all year."

Meanwhile, South Africa were crowned 2016-17 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series champions for the first time since 2009, after amassing as unassailable lead in World Series Ladder points by reaching their eighth Cup Final from nine tournaments this season.

Australia 28 defeated Japan 19
Japan raced off the blocks with a try in the first minute but Australia quickly recomposed themselves, with Simon Kennewell finding his way through the Japanese line to bolt away for Australia’s first try, which James Stannard converted. A relentless onslaught of pressure followed from the Australians, as they stretched the Japanese defence allowing Tim Anstee to storm down the wing for another try, leaving the score at 14-5 at the break.

Japan were again first to score in the second half, capitalising on a penalty against Australia in their own half but it wasn’t long before Liam McNamara used his pace to charge down the wing to score in the corner. Stannard’s precise boot added the extras. Japan responded quickly with a try, but Australia countered again, this time through Lachie Anderson who powered through two Japanese defenders to score on the buzzer.

Australia 14 defeated Wales 12
With rain pouring down, Australia were forced to muster a strong defensive effort to curb the Welsh attacking barrage. It was eventually Australia who put the first points on the board, when a Kennewell offload placed nineteen year old Dylan Pietsch in space for a 70m run to the tryline. Some strong phase work from Wales followed, allowing them to create an overlap and score in the corner, but Australia took a narrow 7-5 lead into the break.

In the physical second half, Anderson was tackled over the tryline and when the TMO was called upon to review, Australia ended up being awarded a penalty try, while Wales’ Stefan Andrews was sent off for a high tackle. Australia couldn’t capitalise on the numerical advantage and when Andrews returned, Wales rapidly gathered momentum and scored another try to narrow their deficit. However it was too little, too late, and Australia held on for a 14-12 victory.

Australia 12 were defeated by Argentina 33
Australia struggled to contain the Argentinians early in the game, as the Pumas capitalised on holes in the Australian defence to race in three tries in the first half. McNamara restored some hope on the half time buzzer, dotting the ball over the tryline after Kennewell found a gap in the mid-field for the Aussies to head into the break behind 7-21.

On the restart Argentina pounced again, scoring within the first thirty seconds of the second half. Undeterred, the Aussies muscled the ball out of their own 22 creating enough momentum to put Alex Gibbon into space to register the team’s second try. Argentina responded immediately to tally their fifth try, creating an insurmountable 33-12 lead for the Pumas.

Australia will next play at the London 7s on May 20-21, 2017.

Australian Rugby Union

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