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The Qantas Australian Men’s Sevens team have finished runners-up in the Gold Coast Sevens after a valiant performance in the Cup Final before going down to the reigning world champions New Zealand 40-19.
Australia led 12-0 early on after James Stannard and captain courageous Ed Jenkins, who was later named Player of the Tournament, had put the home team up with well taken tries but New Zealand simply over-ran Australia in the later stages.
The Australians were simply exhausted after the double extra time semi-final victory over South Africa which saw them reduced to just ten fit players after both speedsters Nick Malouf and Shannon Walker were ruled out injured before the Final kicked-off.
Before the match a battered and bruised Jenkins led his young team through a rousing rendition of the national anthem and the crowd of 13,216 edged forward for a finale fitting the thrilling tournament.
And Jenkins gave Australia the perfect start after just two minutes fighting his way over out wide on the left after taking a pass from Sean McMahon to put Australia up 5-0. Stannard missed the conversion from the touchline.
But just two minutes later Australia were further ahead after Jenkins jumped high to take a magnificent re-start and soon after Stannard cut through to score to the left of the uprights.
This time Stannard was successful with the conversion and Australia were in dreamland leading 12-0.
But in the blink of an eye New Zealand were in front with Ambrose Curtis twice getting on the outside of Tournament debutant Alex Gibbon and sprinting away to score. Tomasi Cama landed both conversions from near the right touchline and the All Blacks led 14-12 in the shadows of half time.
New Zealand were further ahead just two minutes into the second half as Cama raced away to score under the posts. This time he converted from a much easier angle to put New Zealand ahead 21-12.
Waisake Naholo won the race to touch the ball down inches inside the dead ball line to make it 26-12 with this time Cama surprisingly unsuccessful with the conversion.
New Zealand were then awarded a questionable try through Joe Webber with the score set up by Cama who seemed to pick up the ball in an offside position. Cama converted and New Zealand were home 33-12.
Cameron Clark then sprinted through to score a late consolation try for Australia before the scoring was completed with a late runaway try to New Zealand through David Raikuna.
Australia now sit second on the HSBC Sevens World Series on 19 points while New Zealand pick up exactly where they left off last year on top on 22 points.
The teams now move on to Dubai for the second leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series on November 29th and 30th.
GOLD COAST SEVENS
CUP FINAL: New Zealand 40 defeated Australia 19
3rd/4th PLAY OFF: England 47 defeated South Africa 0
PLATE FINAL: Fiji 36 defeated Kenya 0
BOWL FINAL: France 19 defeated Canada 14 AET
SHIELD FINAL: USA 22 defeated Portugal 0
Crowd: 25,320 (Day 1: 12,104, Day 2: 13,216)
DAY 2, Sunday October 13th
Qantas Australian Men’s Sevens 19 (Ed Jenkins, James Stannard, Cameron Clark tries; Stannard, Clark conversions) lost to New Zealand 40 (Ambrose Curtis 2, Tomasi Cama, Waisake Naholo, Joe Webber, David Raikuna tries; Tomasi Cama 4, Mark Jackman conversions) at Skilled Park, Gold Coast.
CUP SEMI FINAL
Qantas Australian Men’s Sevens 24 (Shannon Walker, Con Foley, Ed Jenkins, Jesse Parahi tries; James Stannard 2 conversions) defeated South Africa 19 (Jamba Ulengo 2, Stephen Dippenaar tries; Justin Geduld 2 conversions) after EXTRA TIME at Skilled Park, Gold Coast.
CUP QUARTER FINAL
Qantas Australian Men’s Sevens 24 (Shannon Walker, Ed Jenkins, Sean McMahon, Nick Malouf tries; Cameron Clark 2 conversions) defeated Kenya 12 (Biko Adema, Patrice Agunda tries; Adema conversion) at Skilled Park, Gold Coast.
DAY 1, Saturday October 12th
Pool D Match Results - Australia
Qantas Australian Men’s Sevens 12 (Ed Jenkins, Shannon Walker tries; Cameron Clark conversion) defeated Samoa 0 at Skilled Park, Gold Coast.
Qantas Australian Men’s Sevens 22 (Nick Malouf 2, Tom Lucas, Shannon Walker tries; Cameron Clark conversion) defeated Argentina 7 (Lucas de Vincenzi try; Gaston Revol conversion) at Skilled Park, Gold Coast.
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.