Australia finish sixth at Canada Sevens
12 March 2018
RUGBY SEVENS: The Qantas Australian Men's Sevens side have finished sixth at the HSBC Canada Sevens after going down to England in the fifth-place playoff on finals day in Vancouver.
The Aussies Cup quarter-final against defending World Champions South Africa was a heartbreaker, with Australia surrendering a 19-point lead to lose after the final siren.
The side was then dealt a massive blow ahead of their fifth-place semi-final against Argentina with Lewis Holland, Tom Connor and Lachie Anderson all ruled out with injury, with 13th man Brandon Quinn called into the team. The Australians rallied though and got out to a big lead, and held on to win 28-24 despite a spirited comeback from last weekend’s finalists.
England got the faster start in their fifth-place playoff and Australia couldn’t make up the distance. Two early tries to the English saw them lead by 14 before Jesse Parahi pegged one back before the break. However the English kept their momentum in the second half and a depleted 10-man Australian side were unable to find their groove as the score ended 31-14.
"We’re disappointed with finishing sixth, we had our chances, had our big chance in the quarter-final and to let 19-points slip against South Africa, that’s pretty hard to take,” Qantas Australian Men's Sevens coach, Andy Friend said.
“I thought we fought back well in our next game but to lose that last one against England, that was tough as well.
“Lewis (Holland) has a little bit of a hamstring twinge, Tommy Connor looks like he’s done something to his eye socket and Lachie Anderson copped a bit of a head knock so we just had to look after him there,” Friend said.
Australia remain in fourth place on the HSBC Sevens World Series ladder, closing the gap on New Zealand in third ahead of the Hong Kong Sevens next month.
Australia 19 defeated by South Africa 24
It was the perfect start for the Aussies with speedster John Porch picking up where he left off on day one with two strong runs to get the side deep in South African territory. The good work finished off by Ben O’Donnell who crossed just a phase later after sliding to the outside of a South African defender for first points. Soon after South African Cecil Afrika was yellow carded and O’Donnell made the most of the one-man advantage, this time laying on a try for Lachie Anderson. Australia continued to apply pressure with the one-man advantage and John Porch was the next to profit, crossing in the corner to give the side a 19-0 lead heading into the break.
It was a tense start to the second half but it was South Africa who found the line first through Siviwe Soyizwapi who crossed in the corner. The speedster then had a second two minutes later as the Blitz Bokke continued to maintain possession. The Australians collected the restart but as they tried to close out the game, a desperate charge down from the defending World Champions allowed Cecil Afrika to cross, followed by a clutch conversion from Branco du Preez which levelled the scores. Australia went on the attack as the clock went well into overtime but a penalty to South Africa gave them back possession before Dylan Sage scored the match-winner off a set piece..
Australia 28 defeated Argentina 24
The Aussies were handed some misfortune before kick-off when skipper Lewis Holland, Lachie Anderson and Tom Connor were all ruled out forcing coach Andy Friend to call on 13th man Brandon Quinn for his first minutes in Vancouver. The side able to keep their composure though and get off to the perfect start through Tim Anstee, who profited from some great lead-up work from Tom Lucas to cross untouched for the first points. John Porch then continued his rare form, scoring two tries in three minutes to push the Aussies out to a 21-point lead. Ben O’Donnell secured the final try before half time, finishing off a break from Quinn to have Australia ahead 28-0 at the break.
The second half got off on the wrong foot when Tim Anstee was shown yellow and the Argentinians made no mistake with the extra man, finding their first five-pointer of the match through Lautaro Bazan Velez. The try gave the South Americans plenty of confidence as they went on to score their second just two minutes later as Revol dotted down to close the gap to 14. It began to look like de ja vu for the Aussies when Argentina conjured up a third consecutive try through Barbier but when Revol missed the conversion from right in front it left the Aussies nine points clear with 30 seconds remaining. Argentina did manage one last try after the 14-minute mark to see the score finish 28-24.
Australia 14 defeated by England 31
It was England with the faster start as the sides played-off for fifth position in Vancouver. Their skipper Tom Mitchell with first points, capitlising on a turnover in the middle of the park to run 40-metres to score. Australia then made a break down the sideline thanks to Brandon Quinn only for the ball to spill out and end up in the arms of English speedster Dan Bibby who extended the lead to 14. Veteran Jesse Parahi got the Aussies on the board on the stroke of half-time, finishing some beautiful consecutive phase play to have Australia trailing by just seven points at the break.
The second half saw the English side dominate in both possession and the scoreboard with a tiring Aussie outfit missing three of their squad. Harry Glover, Dan Norton and Charlie Hayter all with five-pointers to put the game out of reach for Australia. A consolation try to John Porch after the final whistle was a testament to his stellar weekend as the score ended 31-14 with Australia in sixth place at BC Place.
Canada Sevens day two results
Quarter-final: Australia 19-24 South Africa
Fifth-place semi-final: Australia 28-24 Argentina
Fifth-place playoff: Australia 14–31 England