The Australian Women's Sevens team has finished with the silver medal at the Pacific Games after falling at the final hurdle to Fiji (12-10) in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea tonight.
In treacherous conditions at the Sir John Guise Stadium, Georgie Friedrichs opened the scoring for the inexperienced Aussie outfit after a tight start with several handling errors committed by both sides.
However, the Fijians turned the game right around by levelling up just before the break before taking advantage of a Friedrichs yellow card to move 12-5 ahead with 75 seconds left on the clock.
A previously disjointed game came to life in the final minute when a patient period of play in midfield between Laura Waldie and Dom Du Toit set Nicole Beck clear to dot down. However, the inspirational skipper for these Games put the conversion wide to the right of the upright.
Australian Women's Sevens Head Coach Tim Walsh said: "For me the game was there to be won and I'm pretty disappointed that we couldn't get the Gold. Defensively we were fantastic, we covered the inside shoulders but in attack we just couldn't quite execute while our re-starts weren't on the mark.
"Eight of the team were on their national team debut and perhaps at times showed their inexperience - to play against a side [Fiji] that has a wealth of World Series experience behind them was always going to be a tough ask.
"Moving forward, the depth we are creating bodes well for the succession plan. We had a very young side out here and I'm hopeful that some of them will come through and be World Series players - and perhaps Olympians - for us.
"I felt given the amount of Rugby Sevens she has played previously that Mahalia Murphy showed glimpses of what she is capable of - good in both attack and defence. Sarah Holvorsen was reliable while it was great to see Brooke Anderson grow into the games in her own tenacious manner."
Walsh added: "The tournament perhaps opened the eyes of one or two players - it showed the level they need to be at if they are to represent Australia at World Series level but I'm sure this experience at the Pacific Games will motivate them."
Australian Women’s Sevens results in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, 8-10 July:
Australia 26-7 Fiji, Pool Stage
Australia 22-5 New Caledonia, Pool Stage
Australia 59-0 Tahiti, Pool Stage
Australia 33-0 Tonga, Pool Stage
Australia 19-7 Samoa, Pool Stage
Australia 19-0 Papua New Guinea, Pool Stage
Australia 10-12 Fiji, Gold Medal Match
Australian Women’s Sevens squad for The Pacific Games 2015 in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea:
Nicole Beck. Bulli, NSW
Brooke Anderson. Brighton-le-Sands, NSW.
Dom Du Toit. Toowoomba, QLD.
Nikki Etheridge. Toowoomba, QLD.
Georgie Friedrichs. Toowoomba, QLD.
Mollie Gray. Newcastle, NSW.
Sarah Holvorsen. Newcastle, NSW.
Mahalia Murphy. Sydney, NSW.
Taleena Simon. Sydney, NSW.
Tanisha Stanton. Newcastle, NSW.
Laura Waldie. Camp Hill, QLD.
Brooke Walker. Brisbane, QLD.