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By ARU Media Unit
The Qantas Men’s Sevens have qualified for Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 and claimed top honours at the Oceania Sevens Championships with a 12-7 win over Samoa in the tournament final at North Sydney Oval on Sunday.
A hard-fought tournament final saw Australia overcome a two-point lead by defending champions Samoa, with fierce defence the difference in the late stages of the game.
Qantas Men’s Sevens captain Ed Jenkins was happy the side had achieved its goals for the weekend, despite stiff competition.
“It was one of the most physical finals I’ve played in,” Jenkins said.
“We had to qualify for the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Russia next year and we achieved that, then claiming the championship was an added bonus.”
Jenkins said the side will now look to the opening round of the HSBC Sevens World Series, which kicks off at Gold Coast Sevens – Fever Pitch, on 13-14 October 2012.
“It gives us great preparation leading into Gold Coast Sevens – Fever Pitch,” Jenkins said.
“This gives us early preparation for the Gold Coast so hopefully it gives us a bit of a head start over the other teams.”
With Samoa already qualified for Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 prior to the Oceania Sevens Championships, Tonga claimed the second qualifying spot with a 19-17 win over Cook Islands in the third-place playoff.
The result means Tonga also earned qualification for the Gold Coast, Wellington and Hong Kong rounds of the HSBC Sevens World Series, while Cook Islands qualified for Hong Kong.
The Oceania Sevens Championships final was a brutally physical affair, with both sides giving as good as they got and fighting hard for possession.
Australia got off to an early start with a blistering run down the wing by Luke Morahan setting up returning star Pama Fou for the first try.
Samoa fired back to take a 7-5 lead with a try to Alatasi Lilomaiava, converted by Faleniu Tupou to lead at half time.
The Qantas Men’s Sevens took the lead early in the second with a brilliant individual effort by Allan Faalavaau, who ran from inside his own 22-metre line to score. Matt Lucas converted the try to give his side a five-point lead.
Twice the Samoans looked as if they would steal victory, but huge defensive efforts from the Australians held them out, with a superb try-saving tackle from Will Miller shutting down Samoa’s last scoring opportunity of the match.
Earlier in the day, Australia defeated Tahiti 55-0 in the quarters, before advancing to defeat Tonga 24-7 in the semifinal.
Try scorers against Tahiti were Jacob Taylor (2), Con Foley, Matt Blain, Dan Yakopo and Fou (4). Taylor kicked five conversions.
Try scorers against Tonga were Morahan, Jenkins and Fou (2). Lucas kicked two conversions.
Day 1 of the tournament saw the Australians undefeated with wins over Solomon Islands, 47-0, American Samoa, 22-7, and Tonga 45-0.
Results from Day 1 and Day 2 are detailed below.
Oceania Sevens Championships Day 1 Results – Saturday 25 August 2012
Papua New Guinea 24 defeated Cook Islands 12 (Pool A)
Samoa 47 defeated Tahiti 0 (Pool A)
Tonga 7 defeated by American Samoa 14 (Pool B)
Australia 47 defeated Solomon Islands 0 (Pool B)
Papua New Guinea 64 defeated Tahiti 0 (Pool A)
Samoa 26 defeated Cook Islands 24 (Pool A)
Tonga 33 defeated Solomon Islands 7 (Pool B)
Australia 22 defeated American Samoa 7 (Pool B)
Cook Islands 66 defeated Tahiti 0 (Pool A)
Samoa 46 defeated Papua New Guinea 12 (Pool A)
American Samoa 34 defeated Solomon Islands 12 (Pool B)
Australia 45 defeated Tonga 0 (Pool B)
Oceania Sevens Championships Day 2 Draw - Sunday 26 August 2012
Samoa 62 defeated Solomon Islands 0
Papua New Guinea 15 defeated by Tonga 17
Cook Islands 19 defeated American Samoa 0
Tahiti 0 defeated by Australia 55
Solomon Islands 7 defeated by American Samoa 24
Papua New Guinea 47 defeat Tahiti 0
Samoa 52 defeated Cook Islands 5
Tonga 7 defeated by Australia 24
Seventh-place playoff - Solomon Islands 52 defeated Tahiti 0
Fifth-place playoff - American Samoa 21 defeated by Papua New Guinea 24
Third-place playoff - Cook Islands 17 defeated by Tonga 19
Final – Samoa 7 defeated by Australia 12
Over 500 young men and women had the opportunity to show off their skills and athleticism yesterday, as the Australian Rugby Union’s Search for a Star took place across the country looking to identify players who may have the potential to represent their country in Rugby Sevens.