Aussies pipped for fifth at USA 7s
5 March 2018
RUGBY SEVENS: It took a try deep into sudden-death extra time to break the deadlock as New Zealand edged out Australia 17-12 in the playoff for fifth place at the Las Vegas leg of the world series on Monday.
The scores were locked at 12-all at the end of regulation time, but a five-pointer that started behind the tryline by Sione Molia got the Kiwis home in what was a pulsating encounter.
James Stannard played a key role for the Aussies scoring the first try and making several key tackles in his role as sweeper behind the front line defence.
There wasn't much between the two teams and it underlined the great rivalry that has developed between the two teams.
The Aussies though did have a chance to snatch victory late after skipper Lewis Holland had scored but Stannard's conversion attempt went just wide of the posts.
The win for the Kiwis was some revenge for the extra time win the Aussies grabbed at their home tournament in Hamilton in the bronze medal match last month.
Earlier, a try to Stannard got the Australians through to the fifth place playoff.
The Aussies defeated Kenya 26-21, but the game went to sudden-death extra time after being all locked up at 21-all when the first 14 minutes elapsed.
Importantly the Australians called correctly at the restart coin toss and opted to receive possession in the first play of the extra period.
The Kenyans' kick-off didn't go the required 10 metres and the Aussies were able to put on a good set piece play that pushed the play deep into their half.
The Aussies then won a penalty while deep on attack and it was quickly taken by skipper Lewis Holland who pushed it wide to the left.
Jeral Skelton then took the tackle that soaked up a few Kenyan defenders and from the ensuing breakdown Stannard got the ball and dived over for the winning score.
It was Stannard's second try of the semi-final after he opened the scoring for the Aussies in a game that saw numerous lead changes.
Both teams went at each other throughout the first 14 minutes and after the sacores were all locked up at 14-all at the break, Lachie Anderson's try for the Australians was matched by a bullocking try from Willie Ambuka that saw him hand off both Tim Anstee and Stannard.
Earlier in the day the Aussie women's team won two practice matches against the USA - the first 40-7 and the second 39-12.
In the cup final the USA, thanks in part to two tries from Danny 'Boom Boom' Barrett, defeated Argentina to grab their first title at home - and second overall - on the world series.
The Americans have been close before featuring in a number of semi-finals at Las Vegas, but really stamped their mark on this tournamentr with a 28-0.
Beside Barrett, a very unlikely looking sevens star, Perry Baker did some great work that included a try and some heavy work in defence. Skipper Sam Pinkleman was another to show out in a team thatdidn't have too many non-contributors this weekend.
The depth in this USA squad was underlined by the fact that Carlin Isles came on late and scored a scintilating try with the last pass in that movement coming from Baker.
The world series heads to Vancouver in Canada for the next leg next weekend.
Day Three Scores
United States 28 Argentina 0
Bronze Medal playoff
Fiji 26 South Africa 10
Playoff for 5th/6th
New Zealand 17 Australia 12
Read more about the previous Games HERE.