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By ARU Media Unit
The Qantas Men’s Sevens side has been stopped short in its run for a Plate championship in Hong Kong, after falling to England and Argentina on Day 3 of the sixth leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series.
The Australians finished second in their pool following two wins and one loss on days one and two of the tournament, but couldn’t overcome their Cup quarter-final and Plate semi-final opponents England and Argentina.
Qantas Men’s Sevens Captain Ed Jenkins said his team was “gutted” with the result and will be looking for an improved effort next weekend.
“We’ve got our best Rugby ahead of us,” Jenkins said.
“We’re looking pretty sharp with the ball in hand but our defence really cost us at times.”
Jenkins added that the last-minute nature of the loss to England took a toll on the team.
“We lacked a bit of intensity toward the end of the tournament,” Jenkins said.
“It’s tough for the younger guys in the side because they’re not used to the intensity of these tournaments.
“I think the loss to England cost us mentally and it was hard for some of the guys to get up from that.”
The Australian men started the tournament with a compelling 31-10 win over France on Day 1, before taking down Scotland 29-14 in their first game of Day 2. Their final game of the pool stage saw them chase an early two-try deficit to fall 22-5 to Fiji.
Day 3 saw them start strong against the English, with tries to Jordan Tuapou and Allan Faalavaau. Faalavaau and Dan Yakopo nailed conversions for the Aussies, but a late try sealed a 19-14 win for England.
In the Plate semi, Ed Jenkins scored the sole try for his side in the first half, with Faalavaau hitting the conversion. Australia trailed 14-7 at half time but Faalavaau scored to cut the deficit to 14-12. This was the last scoring effort for Australia as Argentina went on to win the match 21-12.
In pool play, Greg Jeloudev led the charge against the French, scoring a hat-trick of tries, with Tom English and Con Foley also scoring. Jeloudev, Faalavaau, and debutant Matt Lucas added the extras.
Meanwhile Shannon Walker made his much-awaited debut in the Aussie jersey, coming on as a substitute in the second half against France.
Faalavaau scored a hat-trick against Scotland, with Jeloudev adding to his already impressive tally, along with Damon Anderson. Jeloudev and Lucas hit one conversion each against the Scots.
The final game of the pool stage saw just one try from the Aussies, with Sean McMahon crossing over late in the second half.
The Qantas Men’s Sevens side will now regroup for next weekend’s HSBC Sevens World Series event in Tokyo.
Fans of Rugby Sevens will be able to feel closer to the Australian team than ever before when the new jerseys go on sale from today (Monday, 8 September).