Aussies miss out on Cape Town Cup quarter-finals

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Australia will miss the Cape Town cup quarter-finals for the second consecutive year, after a disappointing opening day.

The Aussies finished with a 1-2 record in their pool matches, putting them third overall and relegating them to the challenge competition, for the bottom eight sides.

Australia will face Uganda in its challenge quarter-final on Sunday at 8:42pm AEDT.

At the time of writing, England, New Zealand, Fiji, Canada, Argentina and the USA had all qualified for the top eight, with South Africa in the box seat to top Pool A.

Cup quarter-finals

All times AEDT

9:04pm - South Africa vs Fiji

9:26pm - England vs New Zealand

9:48pm - Canada vs Kenya/France

10:10pm - USA vs Argentina

Challenge quarter-finals

7:36pm - Kenya/France vs Samoa

7:58pm - Scotland vs Spain

8:20pm - Wales vs Russia

8:42pm - Australia vs Uganda

4:32am - Australia 12 - New Zealand 35

There was plenty of colour in the Cape Town crowd. Photo: Getty ImagesAustralia will miss the Cape Town quarter-finals for the second straight year, after a 35-12 loss to New Zealand in their final pool match on Sunday morning.

Even with a one-man advantage at times, Australia found itself finding New Zealand momentum for the entire 14 minutes.

The Aussies were on the back foot early, as the Kiwis put on the first points, via Vilimoni Koroi.

Australia found itself a man up when Koroi was sent to the bin two minutes later, but even that didn’t help sway momentum away from New Zealand, with Kiwi forward Dylan Collier

A mistimed Maurice Longbottom pass found its way into Collier’s hands for the first and his second came just on half-time, to put Australia into a 21-point hole.

Simon Kennewell gave Australia something to celebrate in the eighth minute, with the first score of the second half after an effective turnover.

The 20-year-old had a hand in Lewis Holland’s try 90 seconds later, narrowing the gap to nine points with four minutes left.

Koroi capped off a rollercoaster game to score in the 12th minute and snatch a quarter-final spot away from Australia, with Sione Molia snuffing out any doubt with a final-minute score.

The loss means Australia goes straight into the Challenge competition, taking on Uganda in their minor quarter-final on Sunday at 8:42pm AEDT.

RESULT

Australia 12

Tries: Kennewell, Holland

Cons: Stannard 

New Zealand 35

Tries: Koroi 2, Collier, Molia

Cons: Koroi 2, Curry, Webber, Knewstubb

Yellow Cards: Koroi (5’)

12:26am - Australia 14 - USA 31

Carlin Isles has a hat-trick by half-time. Photo: Mike LeeAustralia faces a must-win match against New Zealand to keep its Cup quarter-final hopes alive, after a 31-14 loss to USA

Boyd Killingworth cracked the USA defence 90 seconds in, putting the Aussies in the lead against the highly-fancied Americans.

USA star Carlin Isles was the chief destroyer in the first half, with a hat-trick in the opening seven minutes, with his first a runaway try to even up the scores, before a second off the back of some quick recycles..

Isles finished the half with a score, collecting the last pass in a slick chain, to give the USA a 17-7 half-time lead.

Stephen Tomasin heaped the pain on the Aussies after the break, scoring for the USA with the first chance after the break.

Australia found itself with a one-man advantage after a yellow card to the USA’s Maka Unufe, and Lachie Anderson made the most of it, with his second try of the day, narrowing the margin to 10 points.

Once the Americans had their full complement back, skipper Madison Hughes managed to hoodwink the Aussie defence, consigning Australia to its third consecutive defeat against the USA.

Australia takes on New Zealand at 4:15am AEDT in their final pool game.

RESULT

Australia 14

Tries: Killingworth, Anderson

Cons: Stannard, Porch 

USA 31

Tries: Isles 3, Tomasin, Hughes

Cons: Hughes 2

Yellow Cards: Unufe (10')

9:03pm - Australia 36 - Spain 12

Lachie Anderson scored the first try for Australia. Photo: Mike LeeAustralia has opened its Cape Town campaign with a 36-12 win over Spain.

The Aussies toyed with Spain early and Lachie Anderson gave them something to celebrate in the third minute, slipping through a gap to runaway for the opening score.

Maurice Longbottom continued his super start to his Sevens career, with a smart pass putting Anderson through that gap and getting his hands on the ball plenty.

Simon Kennewell nabbed a first-half hat-trick, his second set up by Longbottom, taking every opportunity that was presented to him.

Spain hit back with a Marcos Poggi try one minute after regulation time in the first half, giving the Aussies a 22-7 half-time lead.

Second-tournament rookie Ben O’Donnell hit a cross-field grubber right into Longbottom’s path, with the latter scoring his first try in Cape Town.

Australia’s desperate scramble defence initially  stopped the Aussies from conceding a second try, but there was no stopping Pol Pla a minute later as he finished a slick chain of attack.

Matthew Hood gave the Aussies the last word, running away with a score on the buzzer, to seal the win.

Though it wasn’t perfect, the victory will give the Aussies a handy dose of confidence going into their clash with the USA, on Sunday at 12:04am AEDT.

RESULT

Australia 36

Tries: Kennewell 3, Anderson, Longbottom, Hood

Cons: Stannard 2, Holland 

Spain 12

Tries: Poggi, Pla

Cons: Hernandez 

TEAM

Aussie men's Sevens for Cape Town Sevens

1.Matthew Hood, 2 caps, Sydney University

2. Simon Kennewell, 10 caps, Randwick

3. Sam Myers, 29 caps, Norths (Sydney)

4. Lewis Holland (c), 32 caps, Aussie 7s

5. James Stannard, 42 caps, Aussie 7s

6. John Porch, 10 caps, Norths (Sydney)

7. Tim Anstee, 11 caps, Eastwood

8. Boyd Killingworth, 14 caps, Manly

9. Jeral Skelton*, 1 cap, Brothers

10. Ben O’Donnell, 1 cap, Randwick

11. Maurice Longbottom, 1 cap, Lloyd McDermott Rugby Development Team

12. Lachie Anderson, 8 caps, Eastwood

*HSBC Sevens World Series debut

FIXTURES

Saturday December 9

Australia vs Spain, 8:43pm AEDT 

Sunday December 10

Australia vs USA, 12:04am AEDT

Australia vs New Zealand, 4:12am AEDT