Aussies fall to New Zealand, England in poor Cape Town showing

Mens - Cape Town
by Sam Phillips

Australia have failed to win a game on the final day of action at the Cape Town 7s and finished outside the tournament's top six.

The Aussies won all three of their pool games on day one to set up a Cup quarter-final against New Zealand, who topped the lot in Dubai last weekend.

But they couldn't get past the in form team on the World Series circuit before dropping their fifth place semi-final against England.

Here's how all the action panned out.

1:40am - 5th place playoff semi final - England 24 - Australia 21

The Australians were once again starved of possession in the first four minutes and England made them pay when they drew first blood through Will Muir.

Some superb hands from Ben O'Donnell, John Porch and Maurice Longbottom then created a well worked five pointer for the latter of the trio in response.

But Tom Mitchell crossed for England as the half time siren rung out and that earned the old enemy a 12-7 lead at the break.

A superb break from Lachie Anderson set the Australians on the front foot when play resumed and it was Longbottom who once again took the chance to level things up at 12-all.

Porch's conversion gave the Aussies a 14-12 lead - their second of the match - but it didn't last long.

Henry Hutchison and the Aussie men have finished joint seventh in Cape Town. Photo: Getty ImagesA Longbottom missed tackle created the break from which Tom Bowen scored his first try of the tournament and the lead was England's once more.

That lead extended to 24-14 when Muir ran over the top of Longbottom after beating Michael Wells for pace.

The Aussies weren't dead in the water just yet.

Tom Connor crossed with 20 seconds to play set up a grandstand finish with the score poised at 24-21 but after failing to regather the restart - an issue which has plagued them for the entirety of the tournament - England booted the ball into touch.

It was a poor showing from coach Tim Walsh's side.

After showing such superb improvement in Dubai they will go back to the drawing board over the Christmas break.

10:10pm - Cup QF - Australia 17 - New Zealand 26

Things didn't start well for the Australians as John Porch's opening kick off failed to travel 10 metres, gifting New Zealand early ball.

Etene Nanai-Seturo made the most of that ball when he left Maurice Longbottom clutching at air and scored under the sticks.

No more than 60 seconds later Amanaki Nicole was in, opening up a 14-0 break with three to play in the first term.

The Australians had barely touched the ball at this stage but when Ben O'Donnell pinched a turnover from the restart Longbottom spotted a gap and pinged through it, running 60 metres to score untouched.


But any momentum gained from Longbottom's five pointer was immediately killed by another wayward restart from Porch, Nicole dotting down once more to secure a 21-5 half time lead.


Nicole picked up where he left off in the second half in completing a rare hat trick, the Australians falling off no less than six many tackles in the lead up.

O'Donnell and Henry Hutchison both crossed at the death but it was far too little, far too late, New Zealand outsmarting the Australians at every turn.

A total 10 missed tackles didn't help, either.

The performance was poor but there was worse news yet as Boyd Killingworth hobbled off with a nasty leg injury.

9:30pm - ICYMI

See how day one unfolded here.