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By ARU Media Unit
The Qantas Men’s Sevens team has collected the Plate title at the Wellington Sevens with a strong 22-7 win over Scotland in tonight’s final.
The Australians dropped just one game across the two days of competition on their way to claiming the Plate silverware, having topped their pool on day one after wins over Portugal, Scotland and Series heavyweights Fiji.
The only blemish on the Australian's record came in the first game of day two, dropping the Cup Quarter Final to hosts New Zealand 24-5.
The Qantas Men Sevens bounced back from the loss with a 28-12 win over South Africa in the Plate Semi Final, setting them up for a final showdown and a second clash across the weekend with the Scots.
Qantas Men's Sevens coach Michael O'Connor said he was pleased with the final result and that his team had impressed for most of the tournament.
"We played some really good footy this weekend," O'Connor said.
"I was happy with the final. The boys are really buggered, it was a gruelling weekend."
Australia opened the Bowl final with a dominant first-half performance, taking advantage of having the majority of possession as well as the benefit of an extra man after Scottish captain Colin Gregor was shown a Yellow Card in the opening stages.
When the half time whistle went the Australians found themselves with a commanding 17-0 lead.
Sean McMahon, Pama Fou and Shannon Walker crossed the line, with Lewis Holland adding a single conversion.
Scotland hit back midway through the second half through James Johnstone to close the gap to 17-7.
Both sides traded possession in the latter stages of the game before a break to series debutant Ben Adams in the final minute set up a try to Peter Lee securing the 22-7 win.
Australian captain Jesse Parahi said his team had worked very hard and stuck to their game plan to win the Plate final.
"The whole weekend was tough," Parahi said.
"We just wanted to hold onto possession, attack the breakdown and frustrate Scotland.
"We're really stoked. It's the best we've done this year."
Earlier on day two, the Qantas Men's Sevens lost their first match 24-5 to New Zealand in the Cup quarter final, sending them to the Plate round.
After securing their best finish so far in this year's HSBC Sevens World Series, coach Michael O'Connor reflected on the lost opportunity that was the Cup Quarter Final against New Zealand.
"We didn't play our best against New Zealand," O'Connor said.
"Things just didn't go our way. We were just never in the game. The other five games I'm really happy with."
The Australians went on to defeat South Africa 28-12 in the Plate semifinal, after taking a 14-5 lead at half time. Lewis Holland, Shannon Walker (2) and Adams crossed the chalk, with Holland adding four conversions.
Day one saw the Australian men top their pool with an undefeated run.
They opened the tournament with a 24-5 win over Portugal, with tries to Con Foley, Fou, Adams and Walker. Holland added two conversions.
Australia then caused one of the upsets of the tournament with a 21-12 win over Fiji. Sean McMahon, Adams and Cusack scored tries, with Holland adding a further three conversions.
The Qantas Men's Sevens closed out the pool stage with a 29-5 win over Scotland, with tries to Holland, Foley, Fa'alava'au, Jordan Tuapou and Walker. Holland added two conversions.
The tournament was eventually won by England, who defeated Kenya 24-19 in a nail-biting Cup final.
The Australians suffered one injury in the tournament, with Alan Fa'alava'au being ruled out of the next round with a knee injury. He will be replaced in the squad by Cam Clark.
While the Qantas Men's Sevens added to the Series points tally they couldn't move up the table, still sitting 10th in the rankings.
With the next round of the HSBC Sevens World Series scheduled for next weekend the Qantas Men's Sevens will once again hope to secure another good finish to push themselves up the Series standings.
The Qantas Men's Sevens now travel to Las Vegas for Round 5 of the HSBC Sevens World Series, where they will face Samoa, United States and Spain in pool play.
The Las Vegas Sevens run 8-10 February.
Qantas Men’s Sevens Wellington squad
Jesse Parahi (C)
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.