Aussies finish seventh at Cape Town Sevens
14 December 2015
RUGBY SEVENS: Back-to-back defeats on Finals day has consigned the Qantas Australian Men's Sevens team to seventh place in Cape Town overnight.
Australia lost to hosts and eventual winners South Africa (25-5) in the Cup Quarter-Final and then fell well short against World Series Champions Fiji (38-19) in the Plate Semi-Final.
Qantas Australian Men's Sevens interim Head Coach Scott Bowen said: "After the results we had yesterday everyone was looking forward to playing the host nation in front of an awesome crowd in a great stadium. However, this game is unforgiving and there is very little room for error against the very top sides.
"The errors we made against South Africa were repeated against Fiji. When we have momentum in the game, we need to take advantage of it and conversely when we don't have it, we need to do more to change it.
"In the past two tournaments we have only been beaten by those sides that occupied the top four slots in the World Series last season - Fiji, South Africa and England - and we're under no illusion at the improvement we have to make."
Bowen praised the contributions made by the World Series debutants over the past two weekends in Dubai and Cape Town. "We have given five players their first experience of Sevens at this level - Henry Speight, Boyd Killingworth, Henry Hutchison, Tom Kingston and Stephan van der Walt - and each have done well. They are all aware of the expectations required to be successful on the World Series circuit and will add depth to our squad."
Australia's Cup aspirations were ended after a loss to a South African side unbeaten on Finals Day since December 2012. Pama Fou got the Aussies off to the perfect start on three minutes, finishing off a patient period of possession to score on the left hand corner.
South Africa, buoyed by a 55,000 partisan crowd, subsequently dominated proceedings to go in 15-5 up at half-time. Justin Geduld levelled it up for the Blitzbokke before Seabalo Senatla and Philip Snyman added further scores. Juan De Jongh put the results beyond doubt midway through the second period and Kwagga Smith put the icing on the cake when he picked up a loose ball to stride clear.
The Plate Semi-Final against Fiji was over as a contest by half-time as the islanders raced into a 26-point lead at the break thanks to tries from Apisai Domolailai (2), Savenaca Rawaca and Osea Kolinisau.
Pama Fou and Tom Cusack registered five-pointers of their own to reduce the arrears but Fiji pulled clear once again through Alivereti Veitokani and Emosi Mulevoro. A piece of magic from Greg Jeloudev created an opening which he finished off himself but it was too little too late as Australia took 10 World Series points home from South Africa's 'Mother City'.
Outside back Pama Fou sustained a dislocated right shoulder in the act of scoring his try in the game against Fiji and will undergo surgery upon his return to Sydney early next week. The 24-year-old is expected to be out for an extended period of time.
On a day of eye-catching results, South Africa won their home tournament for the third year in succession after beating Argentina (29-14) in the Cup Final, while France beat Kenya at the death to take third. Fiji took out the Plate Final after a 29-19 win over the USA.
The 2015-16 World Rugby Sevens Series takes a break for the Christmas and New Year period with the third leg taking place in Wellington on 30-31 January. Just a week later on the 6-7 February, the series hits Sydney for the first time at Allianz Stadium with tickets available from just $30 via Ticketek.
Qantas Australian Men's Sevens results in Cape Town, South Africa, 12-14 December:
Australia 45-0 Portugal, Pool C
Australia 21-14 Wales, Pool C
Australia 26-21 USA, Pool C
Australia 5-25 South Africa, Cup Quarter-Final
Australia 19-38 Fiji, Plate Semi-Final
Final placings for the Cape Town Sevens (Top 7): 1. South Africa (22 World Series points), 2. Argentina (19 points), 3. France (17 points), 4. Kenya (15 points), 5. Fiji (13 points), 6. USA (12 points), 7. Australia / New Zealand (10 points)
Current 2015-16 World Series standings (Top 8 - after two rounds): 1. Fiji (35 World Series points), 1. South Africa (35 points), 3. USA (29 points), 3. Argentina (29 points), 5. England (26 points), 6. New Zealand (25 points), 6. France (25 points), 8. Australia (22 points)
Australian Rugby Union