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By ARU Media Unit
The Australian Sevens have been knocked out in the semi-finals to finish sixth at the HSBC Sevens World Series at Outeniqua Park Stadium in George, South Africa on Saturday (Sunday AEDT).
Coach Michael O’Connor’s team were relegated from the Cup competition after suffering a 33-5 loss to a barnstorming Fiji before being overrun by Argentina 14-12 after the bell in the Plate Semi-Final.
Defending champions New Zealand beat last weekend’s victors England 22-19 to claim the George title while South Africa defeated Argentina 10-5 to claim their second consecutive Plate Final.
Coach O’Connor said he wasn’t going to use injuries to halfback Nick Phipps (sprained ankle) and winger John Grant (ankle) as an excuse for Australia’s performance.
“This George tournament is proving to be a bit of a bogey, I’m not sure what it is, we finished in the same position last year,” O’Connor said.
“I think a lack of experience and game time in tournament conditions at this level is costing us, plus we were only playing with 10 men, but that’s not an excuse.
“It’s not panic stations but we’re going to need to step it up if we’re going to compete with the likes of New Zealand and England.
“To be fair we’re really not far away, the Fiji game was a blow away victory, we gave away too many attacking penalties.
“We really should have beaten Argentina but they beat us on fulltime with a conversion from the sideline.”
After two tournaments, the Australians are in sixth place on 14 competition points, with England (44) leading the way from New Zealand (40) and Samoa (36). Competition breaks for seven weeks and resumes in New Zealand in February.
Fox Sports 2 will broadcast highlights from the final day in George on Sunday from 6.30pm (AEDT).
The Australian leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series, staged in Adelaide on 2-3 April, follows on from the iconic Hong Kong Sevens as stop six on the eight-leg series which also visits South Africa, New Zealand, the US, England and Scotland. Tickets for the International Rugby Sevens Adelaide are on sale now at Ticketek www.ticketek.com.au .
Australia 5 (Bernard Foley try) defeated by Fiji 33
Australia 12 (Ed Jenkins, Michael Hodge tries, Hamish Angus con) defeated by Argentina 14
Australia 21 (Jono Lance, Greg Jeloudev, Hamish Angus tries, Angus 3 cons) bt Scotland 7.
Australia 28( Bernard Foley, Tevita Kuridrani, Hamish Angus, Trent Dyer, Angus 4 cons) bt France 0
Australia 15 (Ed Jenkins 2, Trent Dyer) defeated by Wales 33
Australia: Bernard Foley (captain), Hamish Angus, Trent Dyer, Shaun Foley, John Grant, Michael Hodge, Greg Jeloudev, Ed Jenkins (vc) , Tevita Kuridrani, Jono Lance, Nicholas Phipps, Dan Yakopo