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By ARU Media Unit
The Australian Men’s Sevens team has finished the third leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series in Port Elizabeth in seventh position after falling to eventual winners New Zealand in the Cup Quarter finals.
The young Australian side entered day two of the Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens pitted against their trans-Tasman rivals after the Aussies finished second in their pool at the end of day one.
The Ed Jenkins led side were on the back foot early when New Zealand crossed for their first try after just 42 seconds and continued to put the pressure on the Australians as the match wore on, keeping the Aussies locked in their own half.
The New Zealanders stretched their lead three minutes later with another try and entered the half time break 14-0 up.
The Australians came out after the interval needing three unanswered tries to progress to a Cup semi-final against England, however it wasn’t to be as the New Zealanders went in for their third try of the match after just one minute and 20 seconds.
A tight arm wrestle for possession and territory then ensued and in the fifth minute the young Australian side was rewarded with a try, however time was against the Aussies who couldn’t managed any more points falling 16-points short.
The loss saw Australia move into a Shield semi-final and matched against series leaders Fiji, who had earlier been bundled out of the Cup competition by a rampaging England.
A tough assignment at the best of times, the Australian’s managed to match the strong Fijians early and went into the break trailing by a single converted try, 14-7.
Despite some hard work and strong defence the second half wasn’t to be for Australia with the experienced Fiji side running in two more tries to run out 26-7 winners.
After three rounds of the HSBC Sevens World Series the Australians sit sixth overall a point behind France, nine points behind England, 10-points behind South Africa and 13-points behind current dual series leaders Fiji and New Zealand.
The HSBC Sevens World Series will break over the Christmas and New Year Period, returning in the first weekend of February to Wellington where the Australians are placed in Pool D along-side France, Canada and Kenya.
Players from the Qantas Australian Women's Sevens program visited the Sydney Children's Hospital in Randwick on Thursday to bring some needed festive cheer to sick children.