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Australia’s Qantas Men’s Sevens have finished second at the Gold Coast Sevens after losing 40-19 to New Zealand in the Cup final at Skilled Park on Sunday night.
The Australians had plenty of support, with 13,320 on hand to watch day two of the tournament (weekend total 25,320), but the New Zealanders proved too strong for the home side.
Qantas Men’s Sevens coach Michael O’Connor was satisfied with finishing a final in the team’s home tournament.
“This is the best start to the year since I have been coaching.
“We’re obviously disappointed to lose it, but it was a courageous effort.
“I couldn’t fault the boys’ commitment, and at the end of the day we were beaten by a better team,” said O’Connor.
Qantas Men’s Sevens captain Ed Jenkins, named Player of the Tournament, the result was bitter sweet.
“The double extra time against South Africa really took it out of us, plus a few players ruled out due to injury, which doesn’t help. When it comes down to a final, you really need a full bench.
“In saying that, New Zealand came out firing. They played well and deserved it at the end of the day.
“It was the best start we’ve had to a season in a long time, so it gives us a lot of confidence. We’ll go back, regroup and build up for Dubai in November,” said Jenkins.
The Qantas Men’s Sevens finished the tournament with four wins, one draw and a loss.
Day one saw the Australians draw Scotland 21-all, before beating Argentina 22-7 and Samoa 12-0 to top their pool.
They started day two with a 24-12 win over Kenya in the Cup quarter-final, then defeated South Africa 24-19 in double extra time to advance to the final.
Australia now sit second on the HSBC Sevens World Series after one round, on 19 points while New Zealand pick up exactly where they left off last year on top with 22 points.
The teams now move on to Dubai for the second leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series on 29-30 November.
Qantas Men’s Sevens - Day Two summary
Australia v New Zealand – Cup Final
Two periods of extra time in the Cup semi appeared to have been too much for the Australians, as the New Zealanders ran away with a 40-19 win in the final match of the 2013 Gold Coast Sevens.
Australia led 12-0 early after James Stannard and captain courageous Ed Jenkins, who was later named Player of the Tournament, had put the home team up with two well taken tries before New Zealand over-ran Australia late on.
Australia had earlier been reduced to just ten fit players after both speedsters Nick Malouf and Shannon Walker were ruled out injured after the exhausting double extra time semi-final victory over South Africa.
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 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 down the ball 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 although the score was 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 19 – New Zealand 40
Australia tries – Ed Jenkins, James Stannard, Cam Clark
Australia conversions – Clark, Stannard
New Zealand tries – Tomasi Cama, Ambrose Curtis (2), David Raikuna, Joe Webber, Waisake Naholo
New Zealand conversions – Cama (4), Mark Jackman
Australia v South Africa – Cup Semi-Final
The Australians overcame two periods of sudden-death extra time to defeat South Africa 24-19 in an enthralling Cup semi-final at the Gold Coast Sevens.
The Australia-South Africa game exploded into life in the opening minute with Shannon Walker bursting down the right hand touchline before bumping off two defenders to score under the posts. James Stannard converted to make it 7-0. They scored again through Ed Jenkins a minute later to take a 14-0 lead early in the half.
South Africa struck back with a brilliant solo try to Jamba Ulengo who chipped ahead and re-gathered to score under the posts. The conversion to Justin Geduld made it 14-7 at half time.
Australia jumped out to a 19-7 lead, again through Jenkins, as he regathered from the restart and ran away to score.
South Africa scored long-range tries through Ulengo and Stephen to take the game to 19-all, a score line that would last until the final minute of play in the second period of sudden-death overtime.
The deadlock was finally broken with a minute to play, when Junior Laloifi found space and drew the last weary South African defender before releasing Jesse Parahi for the match winner.
Australia 24 – South Africa 19
Australia tries – Shannon Walker, Con Foley, Ed Jenkins, Jesse Parahi.
Australia conversions – James Stannard (2).
South Africa tries – Jamba Ulengo (2), Stephen Dippenaar.
South Africa conversions – Justin Geduld (2).
Australia v Kenya – Cup Quarter-Final
The Australians opened the scoring within the first minute against Kenya, after the visitors gave away a penalty inside their own 22-metre line. Shannon Walker glided through the Kenyan defence on the ensuing set play and Australia led 7-0 after a Cam Clark conversion.
The Kenyans hit back almost immediately, with Biko Adema breaking three Australian tackles to cross over. He converted his own try to tie the game. Kenya took a 12-7 lead into half time following an unconverted try to Patrice Agunda.
The Australians then dominated the second half, outscoring their opponents three tries to one and returning to the staunch defence that helped them top their pool on day one of the tournament.
Captain Ed Jenkins, Sean McMahon and Nick Malouf all scored in the second half, with Clark adding a single conversion to give his side the 24-12 finish.
Kenya had an opportunity to close the gap in the final minute of the game, but scrambling defence from the Australians saw them keep the visitors scoreless in the second half.
Australia 24 – Kenya 12
Australia tries – Shannon Walker, Ed Jenkins, Sean McMahon, Nick Malouf
Australia conversions – Cam Clark (2)
Kenya tries – Biko Adema, Patrice Agunda
Kenya conversion – Adema
2013 National Schoolboys Sevens Championship Final
The training field at the Skilled Park precinct played host to an all-Queensland National Schoolboys Sevens Championships final, with Keebra Park defeating The Southport School 24-10.
The final was scheduled to be played on the main field, but was moved when the Gold Coast Sevens semi-final between Australia and South Africa went to extra time.
Keebra Park led 12-5 at half time, following two tries to Braydon McMahan and a conversion to Te Marie Martin. TSS scored an unconverted try through Joe Fittock.
The second half saw McMahan score his hat-trick try for Keebra Park, as Martin also crossed over for his own five pointer. Martin added a second conversion to his tally. Juke Upfield scored the only other points for TSS.
Keebra Park 24 – The Southport School 10
Keebra Park tries – Braydon McMahan (3), Te Marie Martin.
Keebra Park conversions – Martin (2).
The Southport School tries – Joe Fittock, Juke Upfield.
Qantas Australian Rugby Sevens stars Emilee Cherry and Cameron Clark have been rewarded for their stellar performances throughout their respective 2013/14 seasons after picking up three awards between them at the 2014 John Eales Medal in Sydney.