Aussies snatch bronze in Hamilton, Fiji win Cup

Mens - Hamilton
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Another big day of Sevens coming your way, with finals day in Hamilton.

Australia's men will be looking to back up a Sydney win in New Zealand, as they kick off their finals campaign.

Tune into FOX SPORTS 7 for all the action, or stay tuned to this blog for match updates, reaction and analysis from Australia's games.

6:23pm:  That's a wrap from Hamilton

The Australia-New Zealand legs of the World Series are all over, and there were plenty of exciting moments throughout.

The Aussies picked up bronze, with a super third place playoff win against New Zealand, with Fiji reigning supreme in an epic Cup final against South Africa.

It was Fiji's first win in New Zealand since 2010.

Here's how the finals played out.

RESULTS

Cup Final

Fiji 24 - South Africa 17

Bronze final 

Australia 8 - New Zealand 7

Fifth-place playoff

Samoa 19 - Kenya 15

Challenge Trophy final

Argentina 12 - USA 31

STANDINGS

Here's where the World Series top five  stands after four World Series  legs.

Fiji has overtaken Australia in third spot with their Cup win in Hamilton, while South Africa maintains its series lead.

1. South Africa - 77

2. New Zealand - 69

3. Fiji - 62

4. Australia - 60

5. Argentina - 48

5:57 pm - Australia 8 - New Zealand 7


A James Stannard penalty goal two minutes after full-time has secured third place for Australia in Hamilton, 8-7 over New Zealand.

The Aussies trailed for the entirety of regular time, but two New Zealand penalties after the final whistle gave Stannard a chance to take a rare shot at goal to snatch the lead.

Australia dominated possession early, at one stage putting 16 phases together, but it was New Zealand co-captain Scott Curry who drew first blood three minutes in.

Curry snatched a critical turnover deep in Australia's attack and when play restarted, slipped through Australia's defences and streaked away to score.

Some tenacious defence from Tom Connor stopped Curry from clinching a double, in a moment that showed a glimpse of Australia's trademark grit and ultimately proved game-defining.

The Aussies found themselves a man up when Kurt Baker was yellow-carded for a neck roll just before the break, but Australia infringed soon after, ending the first stanza scoreless.


John Porch made no mistake when he pounced on a loose ball in the second half, scooping up the pill and crossing to narrow the gap to two points.

Momentum began to turn firmly Australia's way after that score, with the visitors forcing New Zealand into an error but they returned the favour soon after.

Australia was left rueing another series of opportunities, unable to make it past the last line of New Zealand defence, but they were equally desperate with their own score-stopping, giving themselves one final crack with 30 seconds to go.

A new Zealand penalty gave Australia an opportunity to reset after full-time, and as they worked deeper into their attack the Kiwis offended again, giving Stannard the chance to slot the goal.

South Africa meets Fiji in the Hamilton final. 

RESULT

Australia

Tries: Porch

Pens: Stannard

New Zealand

Tries: Curry

Cons: Webber

Yellow Cards: Baker (7')

5:02pm - Aussies eye off third spot

Just half an hour to go until Australia takes on New Zealand in the bronze final, with the visitors looking to finish on a high.


3:34 pm - Australia 5  South Africa 24


Australia's bid for consecutive Cup titles has been snufffed out with a 24-5 semi-final loss to South Africa.

The Aussie men fought hard but were missing a host of top line players, most recently losing Maurice Longbottom to an ankle injury, against a Blitzboks team desperate to prove last week's Sydney 7s final was an aberration.

A cruel twist of fortune led to South Africa's first try, with James Stannard losing his footing in open play, opening up a space for South Africa to run onto the ball, with Cecil Afrika finishing in the corner.

The Blitzboks lifted the match to a frenetic pace after that score, and a lost Australian lineout set up an opportunity for Seabelo Senatla to score South Africa's second of the match.

Senatla was off the ground just minutes later, yellow carded for a deliberate knock down, giving the Aussies one final chance to score before half-time and Tim Anstee delivered, stepping out of a Werner Kok tackle to narrow the margin to five points.

Australia fell agonisingly short of a perfect second-half start, with a Ben O'Donnell break putting them in a dangerous spot, before Stannard knocked on just short of the line.

The Aussie men looked unsettled as South Africa turned up the pace and Afrika made Australia pay at the next opportunity, stretching their lead to 12 points with five minutes left.

Another bungled lineout hurt Australia and though they held tough against a South African barrage, Kwagga Smith was able to breach their wall and score the match-sealing try.

Australia will play New Zealand in the bronze medal final at 5:33pm AEDT, while South Africa faces Fiji in the final.

RESULT

Australia 5

Tries: Anstee

South Africa 24

Tries: Afrika 2, Senatla, Smith

Cons: Afrika 2

Yellow card: Senatla (7')

12:49pm - Longbottom ruled out

Maurice Longbottom won’t play any further part in Australia’s Hamilton campaign, ruled out with an ankle injury.

Longbottom suffered the injury late in Australia’s quarter-final win over Kenya, after being caught awkwardly in a tackle attempt.  

Matthew Hood will come into the squad for the final two matches. 

11:42am -  Australia 33 - Kenya 12


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Australia's men have set up a blockbuster semi-final showdown with South Africa, after beating Kenya 33-12 in their quarter-final.

Kenya threatened early, throwing some of their weight around, but a Sam Myers break turned the game on its head, with Tom Lucas collecting the offload to score for Australia.

John Porch added another just after the restart, with a long-range Lucas pass landing in his hands, giving the rising star a chance to score a second for the Aussies.

Lucas and Porch combined again to set up Lachie Anderson for Australia's third and a Kenyan yellow card gave the Aussies a one-man advantage to go with their big buffer.

Ben O'Donnell shrugged a tackle off to continue the pain for Kenya and Anderson snuck in his second just before the break to give Australia a commanding 33-0 gap.

Kenya scored a reply 10th minute, beating out the Aussie defence on the edge to open their account, and another, via Augustine Ligamy, gave them some consolation in the dying seconds.

It wasn't all good news for the Aussies, with enigmatic Maurice Longbottom coming off midway through the second half with a leg concern, after being caught up in a tackle.

Australia plays the winner of the South Africa in their semi at 3:11pm AEDT, in a rematch of last weekend's Sydney final that Australia won 29-0.

RESULT

Australia 33

Tries: Anderson 2, Lucas, Porch, O'Donnell

Cons: Stannard 4

Kenya 12

Tries: Sikuta, Ligamy

Cons: Ligamy

Yellow Card: Oluoch (6')

11:05am - Aussies backing up

Take a look at how Australia's men prepared for finals day.

11am - Quarter-final draw

A quick reminder of the team still in the running for the Cup today.

10:36am AEDTFiji vs Samoa

10:58am AEDT New Zealand vs England

11:20am AEDT Australia vs Kenya

11:42am AEDT South Africa vs Scotland

Click here to see how Australia's opening day panned out.