Aussie men finish seventh in Cape Town

by Staff Writer

The Qantas Australian Men’s Sevens team knows improvement is needed to feature in the World Series’ top echelon.

Australia lost to South Africa in the Cup quarter-final overnight before going down to Fiji in the Plate semi-final hours later, relegating them to seventh place overall.

The second day results were more painful given the promise that an undefeated opening day gave them.

A match against hosts Blitzbokke, who have been undefeated in finals at home since 2012 and went on to win the tournament, was always going to be a difficult task.

Interim Men’s Sevens coach Scott Bowen lamented the errors his team committed on a critical day of the competition.

"The errors we made against South Africa were repeated against Fiji,” he said.

“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.”

Bowen was optimistic about the standing of the side, though, in a year where competing with the top three will be more important than ever as the Rio Olympics grows near.

"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," he said.

The Cape Town result is the second time in as many series that Australia has finished in the Plate competition after losing to the ultimate tournament champions, sixth in Dubai before this seventh placing.

Bowen said the game time injected into the side’s handful of debutants over the opening two series showed positive signs for their longer-term success.

"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,” he said.

“They are all aware of the expectations required to be successful on the World Series circuit and will add depth to our squad."

The Sevens action resumes in roughly six weeks, with Wellington Sevens on January 30-31, before Sydney hosts its first live Sevens action at the Sydney 7s on February 6-7.

Tickets for the Sydney 7s can be bought on Ticketek, from just $30.

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 HSBC 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 HSBC 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)

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