Men's Sydney 7s: Aussies through to quarter-finals after stunning post-siren try

Mens - Sydney
by RUGBY.com.au

A stunning post-siren try to push Australia into the quarter-finals was the highlight of an action-packed opening day of Sydney 7s men's action.

The Aussies needed to win by six points against South Africa after dropping their first pool game against Argentina, and they got there by the skin of their teeth.

Spain and France were the other sides to do well and push themselves up into contention with the big boys in the Cup playoffs.

Missed any of day one? Find the recap here.

Day two live women's updates here.

For full scorers and results from every game, click here.

10:15pm - Quarter-final lineups

So, there you have it. The Aussies scrape through to the quarter-finals and set up an epic final eight match against Fiji.

Here's how the quarter-finals will run tomorrow (AEDT).

12:16pm – Fiji vs Australia

12:38pm – New Zealand vs France

1pm – South Africa vs England

1:22pm – USA vs Spain

10pm - Walsh praises his Aussie team after "rollercoaster" win


Australian sevens coach Tim Walsh praised his side for pulling a rabbit of out the hat deep in extra-time against South Africa and securing an unlikely quarter-final berth.

The Aussies will play Fiji in the quarters on Sunday after a rousing finish in their last pool round.

Needing to beat the Blitzboks by more than five points to avoid being knocked out of Cup contention – following a loss to Argentina earlier in the day -the Aussies led by 24-21 as the full-time siren sounded.

It wasn’t enough but South Africa, the reigning world series champs, elected to run the ball, instead of kicking it out.

South Africa had top spot nailed down regardless but coach Neil Powell told News Limited he was unaware they could have knocked Australia out by putting the ball out.

They didn’t and when chasing the win,  impressive youngster Josh Coward – who’d earlier scored the go-ahead try – knocked the ball free.

Nick Malouf then ran 50 metres to score and grab second place in the pool.

Argentina were left fuming as the team knocked out on points difference.

“It was an emotional rollercoaster but it was a good one,” Walsh said.

“We knew we had to win by six and the boys knew as well. It was a real moment to embrace and own and fair play to them, they came up with the goods.

“We told them at halftime (about the need to win by six) so they were fully aware. It was an added pressure which they embraced, which was a real positive.”

Walsh said he “commended” South Africa for chasing a win after the siren, but admitted he didn’t know if they understood the mathematical equations at play.


“Most teams would have kicked that out but they wanted to win, they’re such a proud nation,” Walsh said.

“We got our opportunity and we took it, we’re into tomorrow, which is the first step. We have to repeat the way (on Sunday) we played today. I don’t know whether they knew what the difference was but when you walk across the line, you want to win.”

Walsh said the Aussies were confident about their chances against Fiji, after the mighty sevens kings had a mixed day and only just beat Samoa in their game.

Australia only narrowly missed out on a drawn game against Fiji last weekend in Hamilton, too.

“They are an amazing attacking team, they will score tries so it’s how you respect the ball and when you hold onto it, you can score some tries as well,” he said.

“We’ll be ready.”

9:25pm - ROUND THREE


Australia are through to the Sydney Sevens after scoring a miraculous post-siren win over South Africa in their last pool match.

Having lost to Argentina in their opening pool game, the equation was simple for Australia to make the playoffs and remain a chance to defend their title: beat South African by five points or more.

Any less and they’d miss out on points difference behind the Blitzboks and Argentina.

Australia started brilliantly and pushed out to a 17-0 lead but South Africa responded to fight back and lead 21-17.

Staring down the barrel of an early exit, rookie Josh Coward scored with a minute left to give Australia a 24-17 lead – which wasn’t enough.

With the siren sounding, South Africa only needed to kick the ball out at a scrum to sink Australia and progress but they chased the win and pushed downfield.

Coward helped secure a turnover and Nick Malouf picked up the ball, and with the crowd screaming, raced 50 metres downfield to score the try with the clock deep in the red.

The South Africans still finished top of their pool but their decision to run the ball would have left Argentina fuming, given they were knocked out of the playoff picture with an inferior points difference to Australia.

USA have continued their strong start to 2018-19 with a quarter-final berth in Sydney. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyFiji held on to beat Samoa and round out the eight quarter-finalists. They'll play Australia in the first playoff game.

France continued their good form to qualify for the first finals in two seasons, and they'll take on New Zealand.

Perennial heavyweights South Africa may have botched their maths against Australia but they finished top anyway, and will take on England in their quarter.

The giant-killing Spain qualified for the finals by knocking off Scotland and Wales, and they'll face up to the USA in their quarter-final.

RESULTS

Wales 5 - Spain 21

Scotland 0 - New Zealand 42

Kenya 17 - France 40

USA 36 - Canada 14

Tonga 12 - Argentina 34

South Africa 21 - Australia 29

Japan 0 - England 36

Samoa 12 - Fiji 22

 

4:39pm - Aussies bracing for Blitzboks


Australia's men had to park their opening defeat to Argentina before going into the clash against Tonga, two-try star Lachie Anderson says.

Anderson notched the opening tries in each half of Australia's 32-0 victory over the island nation and said taking control when they had the chance proved to be the difference in their second game.

"I put it down to a lack of execution of what we speak about, that was probably the difference there between the two (matches)," he said.

"We go out there, we want to play an up-tempo fast game where we control the ball and we did that and we came away with points.

"Inconsistent maybe, lack of execution probably."

The Aussies will have to play the rest of the tournament without Ben O'Donnell, who suffered a concussion in the first game of the day against Argentina.

Australia takes on South Africa in their final pool game in a bid to secure a cup quarter-final spot and Anderson said it would be the toughest test of the day.

"Each game gets bigger now, South Africa are one of the world's best so you can expect everything you've seen today and more," he said.

"No doubt up front it will be physical and it will be a fast game."

5:11 pm - ROUND TWO


Australia have kept their quarter-finals hopes alive with a 32-0 win over Tonga in their second pool match.

The Aussies took little time to score against Tonga as Lachie Anderson broke away in the opening minute.

Lewis Holland notched their second, and his 100th career Sevens try, two minutes later as the Aussies began to take control.

Henry Hutchison was over just a minute after that, collecting a long range Nick Malouf pass and sprinting down the left edge to cross.

The celebrations weren't over for Australia in the first half as returning forward Jesse Parahi stepped around three Tongan defenders to score.

Anderson bettered his opener in the second half, talking just nine seconds to score a breakaway try in the left corner.

A Tonga red card gave the Aussies more space and Holland made the most of it immediately to run in for the fifth and last try of the match. 

Fiji supporters out in full force at Spotless Stadium. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyFiji once again lit up the crowd with a spectacular performance against England, holding off a strong English charge led by Dan Norton.

Japan notched their first win of the day against Samoa, scraping through by four points.

South Africa beat out Argentina 25-10 to stay undefeated at the top of Pool D with one round of matches to go.

USA's Danny Barrett has been making his mark felt in the Americans' second round 41-0 win over Kenya.

Conveniently, RUGBY.com.au spoke to the USA enforcer earlier this week in Sydney.

France beat out Canada in their second match of the day, with a late score securing a 17-12 win over the North Americans.

New Zealand has one foot in the Cup quarter-finals after a 41-0 thumping of Spain in their pool clash.

Sam Dickons and Joseva Ravouvou had doubles for the Kiwis in the clash as they cruised to their second win of the day.

Wales ran away with a 26-12 win over Scotland in their second round match to take them off the bottom of the ladder.

RESULTS

Scotland 12 - Wales 26

New Zealand 41 - Spain 0 

Canada 12 - France 17

USA 41 - Kenya 0

Australia 32  - Tonga 0

Japan 21 - Samoa 17

Fiji 14- England 7

3:59pm - O'Donnell blow for Aussies

Ben O'Donnell is out of the rest of Sydney. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyBen O'Donnell will not play any further part in the Sydney 7s after being ruled out of the remainder of the tournament with concussion.

O'Donnell was originally in doubt for the tournament after aggravating a knee complaint in Hamilton but was declared fit after making it through training during the week.

The 23-year-old has been replaced by 13th man Brandon Quinn.

11:38am - Urgency the key for Aussies after loss: Malouf

Australia must rectify their urgency and physicality if they have any chance of making the Cup quarters after their disastrous opening loss to Argentina according to Nick Malouf.

Malouf said the Aussies failed to respect the ball but remained optimistic the defending champions could bounce back against Tonga and South Africa.

While the wet weather didn't help their cause, Malouf said it could not be blamed for the lacklustre performance.

 "It was a very disappointing start, we probably just didn't adapt to the wet weather conditions," he said.

"They just blasted us off our own ball and we didn't respect it when we had it and that was probably the difference in the end, just the urgency and adapting to the conditions.

"But I suppose the good news is we've got two more games and we can still get into the Cup quarters.

"I don't think you can put it down to just (the weather) there were other parts of our game we just didn't execute and they just wanted it more than we did in the end, so we're going to have to rectify it for these next two."

The Aussies face a tough task to fight back but Malouf remained confident the home side had the ability to post points with the ball in hand.

"Probably just our urgency and physicality (need to improve) and just respecting the ball and keeping a hold of it when we've got it," he said.

"You saw when we did respect it and those passes went to hand we got the points but we were just not urgent enough in our defence."

10:47am - ROUND ONE


Australia's Sydney 7s defence has opened in disastrous fashion with a 29-14 loss to Argentina in their first pool game.

The Aussies were on the attack first but an Argentinian turnover gave the South Americans the first score of the match in the second minute.

Henry Hutchison looked to have scored for the Aussies in the fifth minute but it was disallowed due to a forward pass in the leadup.

Australia struggled to make ground against the Argentinian defence and when the Pumas 7s won a turnover it took a special kick gather for the Aussies to mount another attack.

Simon Kennewell eventually broke the Aussies' duck on the stroke of half-time and a John Porch conversion put them ahead.

Their momentum was quickly snuffed out with an Argentinian try off the kick-off with Aussies slipping off their opponents on the way to the line.

Less than a minute later, Argentina crossed again and the Aussies were left in a 12-point hole with five minutes left.

A yellow card for Lachie Anderson made the task even more difficult for Australia and Argentina took the chance at the sticks to stretch the margin to 15 points.

Argentina turned defence into attack again, with a brutal hit on Josh Coward opening up a gap for them to score.

Longbottom ran away for the first Aussie try with just over a minute to go but it was too little, too late with a huge margin to jump.

The loss effectively means the rest of their pool matches are must-wins should they want to make the quarter-finals, let alone top their pool.

A second-place finish in Pool D would pit them up against Fiji in a cup quarter-final but they face an uphill battle to ensure they earn a spot in the knockouts at all.


Fiji put on a clinic against Japan to close out round one, lighting up a Fiji-dominated crowd at Spotless Stadium.

England opened its campaign with a comfortable win over Samoa in the penultimate match of the round.

Tonga had a strong start against South Africa but the Blitzboks turned up the heat to claim a 45-5 victory over the invitational team.

Joint World Series leaders USA held off a fast-starting French in their first match, sneaking away with a 7-0 win.

It was an extra-special outing for Folau Niua, who has become the USA's most-capped Sevens player in Sydney with 63 tournaments to his name.

Canada kicked things off with a victory over Kenya, shrugging off an early scare from the Africans to take the points.

Wales sent a scare through the Kiwis' camp before New Zealand stormed home to take a 27-14 win in their first pool clash.

Spain opened the day with a massive upset over Scotland in the first pool round on Saturday.

RESULTS

New Zealand 27 - Wales 14

Scotland 7 - Spain 10

Canada 24 -  Kenya 14

Australia 14 - Argentina 29

Tonga 5 - South Africa 45

Samoa 12 - England 24

Fiji 27 - Japan 5

8:34am - Avo man back in season

Avo Man and his avo family. Photo: Peter LorimerSydney's "Avo Man" lit up social media in 2018 with his epic Sevens costume and he is back for another year - with the whole Avo family.

Andre van der Berg was blown away by the attention he received with his costume and he has big plans for the years to come.

Read all about the Avo dynasty here.

8:30am - Parahi returns for Aussies

The Aussie men received a big boost in their team naming this week, with Jesse Parahi returning to the side and Ben O'Donnell being cleared of a knee complaint.

Parahi missed out on a Hamilton berth with a hip flexor issue while O'Donnell had pulled up sore on the second day in New Zealand.

Michael Wells is the other addition to the 12 for Sydney as coach Tim Walsh looks for some extra grunt to free up X-factor Maurice Longbottom.

8:21am - Where things stand


This is the fourth leg of the 2018-19 men's series and every tournament point counts in this Olympic qualification year.

Fiji and the USA are on top of the lot after three rounds with New Zealand and South Africa not far behind.

Australia sits in sixth after disappointing Cape Town and Hamilton performances and will be looking to rebound in Sydney, where they have traditionally done well.

The Fijians come in as the team to beat after romping home in New Zealand but Sydney has traditionally been a barren hunting ground for them, with not even a Cup final to their name.

STANDINGS

1. Fiji - 57

2. USA - 57

3. New Zealand - 54

4. South Africa - 44

5. England - 38

6. Australia - 35

7. Scotland - 33

8. Samoa - 27

9. Argentina - 23

10.  Spain - 22