Brave Australian Mens Sevens fall short in cup final at Twickenham

by Staff Writer

The Qantas Australian Men's Sevens team has finished runners-up at the London Sevens after falling short against a red-hot USA side at Twickenham.

The Cup Final loss to the USA (45-22) was preceded by wins over Scotland (31-19) and a memorable demolition of new HSBC Sevens World Champions Fiji (33-7).

Qantas Australian Men's Sevens Head Coach Geraint John said: "The Cup Final was really disappointing. God knows how many tackles we missed in that game, but you have to give credit to the USA, they took it to us physically and we just couldn't match that or bring the intensity that we did in the game against Fiji. Against Fiji, we took the game to them and outmuscled them and I believe it was one of our best performances of the year but unfortunately we couldn't repeat it.

"Overall, it was a good tournament but I think we should be winning games like that Cup Final. We had a huddle at the end and had a quick chat. We've had some good moments, but if we're honest we've been inconsistent too."

John added: "We have a lot of hard work to do and we'll do that in the pre-season in the lead up to the Olympic qualifying event in November. Our goal as a group is to be the best team in the world and we'll put the work in over the winter months to give us the best possible chance of achieving that."

Australia kicked off Finals Day with an impressive win over a confident Scotland outfit who had yesterday defeated hosts England. Nick Malouf opened the scoring after 70 seconds only for Glenn Bryce to respond for the Scots. However, Pama Fou danced through the opposition defence to restore Australia's advantage and further tries from Cameron Clark and skipper Ed Jenkins gave the green and gold an unassailable lead. Gavin Lowe responded for Scotland but Greg Jeloudev crossed over in the final minute to cement the win. A try with the last play of the game from Scotland's Glenn Bryce proved no more than a consolation as the Australians progressed through to the Cup Semi-Finals.

Geraint John's side reserved their best performance of the 2014/15 Sevens World Series season for the Cup Semi-Final against new World Series champions Fiji. The men in gold dominated the game from start to finish as they dismantled a dynamic Fijian side to record one of the results of the season. Tom Lucas capitalised on a fast start to give the Aussies an early lead and from then on it was all one-way traffic as an Ed Jenkins double and a score from Pama Fou helped their side to an incredible 28-point lead at half-time. The second period was an altogether tighter affair with Fiji eventually getting on the scoreboard when Isake Katonibau dotted down for a five-pointer. However, the under-rated Nick Malouf had the final say when he scored in the right hand corner to put an exclamation mark on a memorable display.

In the Cup Final itself against the USA, Nick Malouf handed an injury-ravaged Australian team the perfect start but then it was from there it was America that took control. Madison Hughes and Danny Barrett (2) put the Eagles into a healthy lead only for Lewis Holland to hit back. Speedster Perry Baker extended the USA lead and Maka Unufe added another as the game slipped away from the men in green and gold. Sam Myers pulled one back when he capitalised on a defensive slip from a line-out but fittingly it was an impressive American side that had the final say when Thretton Palamo broke free to secure the USA's first-ever Sevens World Series leg.

Elsewhere, Fiji took third place in London after beating England while New Zealand defeated South Africa to claim the Plate.

Australia finish the 2014/15 HSBC Sevens World Series in fifth spot with 120 points. In the race for qualification to the 2016 Olympics in Rio, Australia will head to the Oceania Rugby regional qualifying tournament which takes place in Auckland on 14/15 November.

Qantas Australian Men’s Sevens results in London, England, 16-18 May:

Australia 41-0 Japan, Pool B

Australia 19-14 Wales, Pool B

Australia 10-24 New Zealand, Pool B

Australia 31-19 Scotland, Cup Quarter-Final

Australia 33-7 Fiji, Cup Semi-Final

Australia 22-45 USA, Cup Final

Final placings for the London Sevens (Top 6): 1. USA (22 World Series points), 2. Australia (19 points), 3. Fiji (17 points), 4. England (15 points), 5. New Zealand (13 points), 6. South Africa (12 points)

Final standings in the 2014/15 HSBC Sevens World Series:(Top 6): 1. Fiji (164 World Series points), 2. South Africa (154 points), 3. New Zealand (152 points), 4. England (132 points), 5. Australia (120 points) 6. USA (108 points)

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