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Three late tries to Scotland have seen them snatch a thrilling 21-21 draw with the Qantas Australian Men’s Sevens in Australia’s opening match of the Gold Coast Sevens at Skilled Park on the Gold Coast today.
Australia started strongly, taking the ball through multiple phases, but an infringement at the breakdown saw Scotland given a penalty.
Good defence from Australia turned the ball over and a long break from debutant Alex Gibbon saw the Lismore-born winger stopped metres out from the tryline.
But Gibbon did well to retain possession before the ball was spread wide to Sean McMahon who dove over in the right hand corner. Veteran James Stannard landed the conversion brilliantly from the sideline and Australia were up 7-0 after 3 minutes.
Right on half time Australia increased their lead with University of Queensland centre Nick Malouf stepping superbly through the Scottish defence to plant the ball under the posts. Stannard again converted to make it 14-0 to Australia at the break.
Solid defence trapped Scotland in their 22 early in the second half and when Australia won a penalty Con Foley cut through to score under the posts. Stannard landed his third conversion to put Australia ahead 21-0.
The Scots hit back through a long range converted try to Mark Robertson to start their stunning revival and soon after Scott Riddell went over to make it 21-14, with Robertson converting again.
But with just 35 seconds left on the clock it seemed sure Australia would hold on, especially when Jesse Parahi made a long charge deep into Scottish territory, but somehow the Scots turned the ball over and raced away through James Fleming to make it 21-19.
With the full time siren already sounded Alex Glashan showed a cool head and landed the conversion to give Scotland an unlikely 21-21 draw.
After the match Australian captain Ed Jenkins expressed disappointment at the result. "Really disappointing” he said, “we just fell asleep in the second half and you can't do that in Sevens."
In the other Pool D match Samoa were impressive accounting for Argentina 26-7.
Australia now go on to face Argentina at 4.20pm (AEST) before meeting Samoa at 7.46pm (AEST) in what is likely to be the Pool D decider.
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GOLD COAST SEVENS
Qantas Australian Men’s Sevens 21 (Sean McMahon, Con Foley, Nick Malouf tries; James Stannard 3 conversions) drew with Scotland 21 (Scott Riddell, James Fleming, Mark Robertson tries; Robertson 2, Alex Glashan conversions) at Skilled Park, Gold Coast.
Tom Kingston was nearly a Sevens player five years ago, just as he entered the professional rugby ranks.