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By ARU Media Unit
Eventual champions England have dismantled Australia’s charge at the Dubai Sevens with a try after the siren to knock coach Michael O’Connor’s men out of the race for the title on Saturday.
Dan Caprice scored in overtime to salvage a 24-21 Cup quarter-finals victory which relegated Australia to the bottom side of the draw and set England up to claim the opening event of the 2010/11 HSBC Sevens World Series.
England, who conceded defeat to minnows Portugal on day one, later toppled Commonwealth Games gold medallists New Zealand 19-14 in the semi-finals before beating reigning champions Samoa 29-21 in the final to take a maximum 24 points into next weekend’s tournament in South Africa.
Australia bounced back from their loss to beat Wales 26-12, but fell 19-12 in the Plate Final against South Africa to finish the tournament with four wins from six games and eight championship points.
Rookie winger John Grant made a promising start to his international Sevens career, scoring nine tries at his debut tournament to finish as the second highest try scorer at the event, behind Springboks star Cecil Africa.
Africa caused all sorts of trouble for the young Australians as he scored a hattrick of tries in the Plate Final to lift South Africa to a seven point victory and reverse their 19-14 defeat from day one.
Coach O’Connor, who blooded seven rookies at the event, said he can see his team improving with each match.
“I thought the boys did well for their first tournament, they played a good brand of Sevens and gave consistent performances,” O’Connor said.
“We were very unlucky to lose to England and a lack of experience really let us down – there were seven seconds on the clock and a wrong decision and lack of experience really cost us.
“They’re pretty disappointed but they’ll learn a lot from it, but for a first hit-out I’m reasonably happy.
“Heading to South Africa, we’ll need to really work on our restarts, they just weren’t good enough and that area of the game is so important, the top teams are really excelling at it.”
Fox Sports 2 will telecast highlights from action from Day Two on Sunday from 5pm (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 .
South Africa 19 bt Australia 12 (Dan Yakapo, Hamish Angus tries, Angus con)
Australia 26 (John Grant 2, Michael Hodge 2 tries, Angus 3 cons) bt Wales 12
England 24 bt Australia 21 (Grant 2, Bernard Foley tries, Angus 3 cons)
Australia 41 (John Grant 2, Ed Jenkins 2, Nick Phipps, Trent Dyer, Shaun Foley tries, Bernard Foley 2 Hamish Angus cons) bt Scotland 14
Australia 28 ( Hamish Angus 2, John Grant, Tevita Kuridrani tries, Angus 4 cons) bt Russia 19
Australia 19 (John Grant 2, Bernard Foley tries, Bernard Foley 2 cons) bt South Africa 14
Australia: Bernard Foley (captain), Hamish Angus, Trent Dyer, Shaun Foley, John Grant, Michael Hodge, Greg Jeloudev, Ed Jenkins (vc) , Tevita Kuridran, Jono Lance, Nicholas Phipps, Dan Yakopo
Qantas Australian Sevens player Shannon Walker will play his first tournament in over a year when he lines up for the National Indigenous side at this weekend’s National Sevens Championships in Narrabeen, Sydney.