Australian Men's Sevens: Top 7 moments of 2014

by Staff Writer

It's been a year of transition for the Qantas Australian Men's program, and what a year it has been. A change of Head Coach, a Bronze Medal at the Commonwealth Games and miracle comebacks. Australia currently sit fourth in the 2014/15 HSBC Sevens World Series standings, one-point behind champions New Zealand.

The last five tournaments has seen the team achieve consistency they are constantly striving for - the highlights being a runners-up placing (London, May), Bronze Medallists at Commonwealth Games (Glasgow, July), runners-up (Dubai, December) and a third place (Port Elizabeth, December).

Here is our countdown.

Moment #7:

After falling to New Zealand in their opening game in Las Vegas in January, Australia couldn't afford to lose to Fiji if they were to qualify from the Pool of Death. With just seconds left on the clock and training 21-19, the Aussies were awarded a penalty which Cameron Clark duly converted under extreme pressure to keep their Cup campaign alive.

Moment #6:

New Zealand had secured their 12th World Sevens Series title at Twickenham in May and met their trans-Tasman rivals Australia in the Cup Final, who themselves earlier silenced the home crowd by disposing of a strong England team. The Aussies started like a train and led 21-0 early on, but in an all-time classic were unable to hold off the All Blacks as the champions surged to a 52-33 victory in front of 80,000 people.

Moment #5:

Australia played Samoa for top spot in Pool D at the Wellington Sevens. In a tight game, Shannon Walker picked up the ball right on his own try-line and slalomned his way through the Samoan defence to score an incredible coast-to-coast effort - a try that was nominated as one of the best of the Sevens World Series season by the IRB.

Moment #4:

After the resignation of Michael O'Connor after six years at the helm of the Australian Men's side, the Australian Rugby Union conducted a global search to find a world-class candidate. The vastly-experienced Welshman Geraint John was appointed Head Coach of the Men's side and Director of Rugby Sevens in June.

Moment #3:

Cameron Clark was in scinitillating form throughout the 2013/14 HSBC Sevens World Series season. The Sydneysider's efforts were rewarded with a deserved spot in the IRB's Dream Team of the Season alongside luminaries such as the Kiwi pair of DJ Forbes and Scott Curry.

Moment #2:

Trailing 19-0 at the break in the Cup Quarter-Finals to Wales, the Aussies needed something special to overturn the scoreline. After an incredible set of circumstances that saw a try-saving tackle, a turnover ball and an attacking move that saw Australia move from defence to attack in one sweeping move, Pama Fou crossed over the line after the siren to clinch a heart-stopping triumph.

Moment #1:

Series leaders Fiji were in imperious form on the Gold Coast and had looked similarly impressive in Dubai in the second leg of the 2014/15 HSBC Sevens World Series. Leading 19-0 after just three minutes, a blow-out looked to be on the cards in the Cup Quarter-Finals against Australia. However, a late Nick Malouf try took the game to sudden death extra-time. Cameron Clark combined with outside back Greg Jeloudev who danced his way past the Fijian defence to score the 43th try of his World Series and possibly his most important.

Are there any moments we missed? What about James Stannard's miracle 3-on-1 tackle to prevent Wales from scoring what would have been the winning try against Australia at the Commonwealth Games? Or Liam Gill's clean-out in the same game? Maybe Pama Fou's 11-try haul at the Port Elizabeth Sevens in December.

Join the discussion