Aussies into Bronze medal playoff

by Jill Scanlon

Australia is into the Bronze medal game following a 33-12 semi-final loss to Olympic champions Fiji.

Australia had to catch its breath after a first half onslaught from the World and Olympic champions.

An opening try to Fiji captain Osea Kolinisau and then a double to little dynamo Jerry Tuwai laid out the tone of the first half with the Aussies barely able to get a hand on the ball.

When Kalione Nasoko ran in a fourth the die seemed cast with a 26-0 scoreline at the break.

It is like a rite of passage for young players to have to face the unique brilliance that is Fiji rugby.

But Australia restarted the second half with determination and kept Fiji in check until Charlie Taylor collapsed over the try line with three opponents on his back.

Liam McNamara quickly followed with a second try for the Aussies showing strength and desperation as he touched the ball against the padding under the posts.

With Stannard, Jenkins and Hutchison all subbed off in the second half, the young guns tackled strongly and fought hard until the final siren but when Setareki Bituniyata scored at the death, the possibility of a top two place for the Aussies had long gone.

To Fiji’s credit they are into their 11th Hong Kong Sevens Final and will be bidding for their third consecutive title there. 

Former Aussie captain Ed Jenkins spoke of the team's disappointment with their performance.

"Very disappointing. I thought we had been playing some great footy over the last two days and that performance there definitely wasn’t up to scratch – the guys are gutted with it," he said.

"We let them get off to a great start and it’s almost impossible to reel in a Fiji that puts 26 points on top of you."

Still pleased overall with the team's performance across the weekend, Jenkins said the group is determined to make the last game count.

"The group has a lot of confidence. That game being the exception, I think we played some great rugby over the weekend and the team is building nicely," he said.

"The young guys coming through are definitely adding to this team and we can build on that. We still have one more game to go - so hopefully we can walk away with a place."

Coverage LIVE on FOX SPORTS Ch501 from 5.56pm - 9.30pm AEST

 Earlier Finals Action

Australia has won its Cup quarter final and is through to the semi-finals after defeating Argentina 21-12 on the final day of the Cathay Pacific HSBC Hong Kong Sevens.

Coming off the back of three good wins in the tournament so far, the Aussies seem to have found some cohesion in the way they play as a unit.

 

Focus. #HK7s #Aussie7s

A post shared by Aussie7s (@aussie7s) on


The game was played at a frenetic pace from the outset and Argentina were the first to get to the try line through young star Matias Osadczuk.

Australia was prevented from getting any consistent possession as Argentina threw everything at them in the early minutes of the game.

Boyd Killingworth eventually found a gap in the opposition line and using sheer pace, ran half the field to the posts.

With the score all tied up 7-7 at the break it did not take long for ‘king of the corner’ Henry Hutchison to score Australia’s second.

As the first half pace started to take its toll on the players late in the game, Tom Lucas exploited a big gap in Argentina’s defence and ran in Australia’s third try.

Argentina salvaged some pride with a try after the final siren but Australia took the victory 21-12 to move into the semi-finals.


The unfortunate news for the Aussies is that Boyd Killingworth, who had an outstanding game, has been injured following a big clash in the final moments of the game and could miss the rest of the tournament.

Tom Lucas said the hard work in preparation is all paying off.

“We’ve been working hard lately on being one step ahead of the game and on communication throughout the team,” he said.

“So I think if I put it down to anything it would be those two things."

Semi Finals 

Australia will play Fiji and the USA will play South Africa for the prized spots in the Cup Final.

Fiji dispatched Canada 29-12 in their quarter-final while the USA caused the upset of the day defeating Vancouver champions England 27-7.

It was a close contest between South Africa and New Zealand going down to the wire, but the series leaders held on for the win 21-19.

The Aussies match against Fiji is at 5.31pm AEST.

LIVE on FOX SPORTS Ch501 from 5.56pm - 9.30pm AEST

 

Join the discussion