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By ARU Media Unit
The Qantas Men’s Sevens have fallen just short of a third-place finish in Glasgow, after missing out on contesting the final for the first time in their last three journeys to Scotland.
Australia put up a tough fight against the might of Seven’s powerhouse Fiji to fall 31-17 in the third place playoff match of the Glasgow Sevens, in the second last round of the HSBC Sevens World Series.
Following their inspirational Cup championship win in Tokyo last month, the result in Glasgow is the side’s best finish since the opening round of the series on the Gold Coast.
Despite a cracking start thanks to Australia’s Con Foley crossing for the first try of the match after just 90 seconds, the Qantas Men’s Sevens were unable to maintain their attacking form and found themselves chasing a 24-5 deficit at half time.
The Aussies bounced back after the break and outscored their Pacific Island rivals 12-7 in the second half but it wasn’t enough to overrun the more experienced Fiji side.
Jordan Tuapou ran in a double in the first few minutes of the second half to close the gap to 24-17, but a late try to Fiji sealed the result with less than a minute remaining.
Earlier on Day 2, the Qantas Men’s Sevens accounted for Wales 17-7 in the Cup quarter-final despite Matt Lucas receiving a yellow card in the first half.
The 10-point win coming via tries to Damon Anderson, Allan Faalavaau and Shannon Walker.
The Qantas Men’s Sevens then met current series leaders New Zealand in the Cup semi-final, but were unable to produce the same result they achieved the week before in Sydney when they defeated the New Zealanders 35-19 in an exhibition match at Allianz Stadium.
On this occasion New Zealand, who went on to win the Glasgow Sevens, were too strong for the young Australian side securing a 22-7 with Damon Anderson Australia’s only try scorer.
The Qantas Men’s Sevens started the Glasgow tournament with a decisive 29-14 win over the United States, following tries to Faalavaau, Jesse Parahi, Walker, Foley and Solomoni Rasolea. Lucas added two conversions.
The Australians then met Kenya for their second match of the day. It was the first time the two sides had met since the Africans triumphed over Australia at the Wellington Sevens and there was no denying the Qantas Men’s Sevens focus to ensure the result was reversed.
In what was a closely fought encounter Australia emerged narrow victors 28-26 to help secure passage through to the Cup quarter final on day two with still one match remaining.
Ed Jenkins, Faalavaau, Rasolea and Lewis Holland all scored tries for Australia, with Lucas solid with the boot kicking four from four to help the Aussies come away with the narrow two-point win.
The victory was soured somewhat with Lewis Holland re-injuring his hamstring while scoring a try. As a result, he will be replaced by Lindsay Crook for the final round of the HSBC Sevens World Series in London this coming weekend.
In the final game of the pool stage, England avenged their semi-final loss in Tokyo, beating Australia 19-14 with Jenkins and Anderson both crossing for tries while Faalavaau added the extras.
The Qantas Men’s Sevens remain in sixth position on the HSBC Sevens World Series standings, however their fourth place finish has helped them increase their lead over seventh placed Wales and they have also made up ground on fifth placed Samoa and fourth placed South Africa with just one round remaining.
Following the Glasgow Sevens, Australia were named in Pool D for the London Sevens, alongside South Africa, Scotland and Portugal.
Coverage of the Glasgow Sevens will appear on Fox Sports 3HD and 3 on Tuesday, 8 May from 7:30pm to 10:30pm.
The Qantas Australian Women’s Sevens team begins its quest for Olympic qualification in Rio with Dubai first up in the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series in December.