Aussies claim bronze and fourth at Dubai Sevens
3 December 2018
RUGBY SEVENS: Over the weekend, Australia's men's and women's Rugby Sevens teams finished up their Dubai campaign with a bronze medal for the women and a respectable fourth place for the men.
After a rough start to the tournament, securing one win and two losses in the pool stage, the young Australian team finally found their feet when they defeated England 27-12 in the semi-final, after being beaten by them 12-26 in the first pool game
Going down to a world-class Canadian side, sent the Aussie girls into a battle for third place.
The Australian women claimed bronze in Dubai after a stunning 26-21 victory over the USA, and with precious series points on the table it was a grudge match till the death.
It was slow start for the Aussies early on, with USA shooting out of the blocks to score their first try through Alev Kelter, but Vani Pelite added Australia to the score board shortly after to level things up.
USA replied with a try to Naya Tapper who made a strong run down the right-hand wing with Dom Du Toit in hot pursuit.
A solo run from Charlotte Caslick saw her score right before the break to square things up.
USA drew first blood in the second half, with Kelter crossing for her second try to etch the yanks out in front, but superstar Caslick evened up it up for Australia again to 21-all in overtime.
Forced errors from USA led to two players being sent to the bin right on the full-time buzzer.
Australia took full advantage of playing seven on five, punishing the USA through debutante Lily Dick who ran away with the winning try and the bronze medal.
"I’m incredibly proud of the way the team performed today; a very young squad found a way to win and got better throughout the entire tournament," Coach John Manenti said.
“Charlotte Caslick was an absolute standout with and without the ball, and our two rookies in Sariah Paki and Lily Dick were phenomenal for young women playing their first tournaments.
“Vani Pelite continues to perform every tournament, she was immense in defence today and made some crucial tackles all over the park.
“We now go to our home tournament in Sydney with some players to return and a squad pushing for positions.”
After defeating Argentina in their Cup quarter final, the Aussie men lost a thrilling Cup semi final to USA more than two minutes after the final siren had rung out and they suffered a similar loss against England in the bronze medal match, too.
Having beaten the English side in the group stage 24 hours earlier, there was no lack of feeling through this encounter, but it was the old enemy who had the last laugh, with Harry Glover crossing at the death to secure the 15-14 win.
It was the Australians who drew first blood when John Porch touched down and while William Muir responded for England, Lachie Anderson crossed just before half time to open up a 14-5 lead.
That lead was narrowed to 14-10 when Mike Ellery crossed before Glover put the nail in the coffin at the death.
Coach Tim Walsh said of the performance;
"If we’re honest with ourselves we are not quite there yet.
"We had a good tournament and we had individuals who put out world class performances, but in a prestigious event of the World Series you have to be good every game and you have to be performing in those pressure moments
"That’s when the good teams do their jobs and do it well.
"We were very close to winning both those games, but we didn’t and that’s the reality of where we are at. We’re in the top four but we want to be on the podium."