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By ARU Media Unit
The Qantas Men’s Sevens have claimed the Shield in emphatic fashion at the Las Vegas Sevens, securing a 41-0 win over Uruguay on day three of the tournament.
The Australians found themselves contesting the Shield in the fifth round of the HSBC Sevens World Series after leaving the pool stage with just one win from three and falling to England in the Bowl quarter-final.
Qantas Men’s Sevens coach Michael O’Connor said inexperience and a lack of mental toughness cost his team.
“I’m bitterly disappointed, I’m not happy,” O’Connor said.
“We’re a young squad and we find it difficult to get mentally to where is needed. We have to get tougher mentally. You need mental toughness to tackle that second tournament.”
O’Connor was, however, happy with his team’s resolve in the later stages of the tournament.
“It’s been a gruelling few weeks, the boys aimed up on the last day so I am happy with that,” O’Connor said.
“There were some encouraging signs this weekend and we were able to give everyone a lot of game time so we’ve built on our depth.”
The Shield final was all one way traffic, with tries to Australia’s Jesse Parahi, Sean McMahon (2), Lewis Holland, Con Foley, Jordan Tuapou and Shannon Walker. Cameron Clark kicked one conversion, while Holland added two.
Earlier on the final day the Australians defeated Kenya 38-7 to advance to the Shield final.
Australia’s tries were scored by Holland (3), McMahon, Clark and Foley. Clark kicked four conversions.
Day two saw the Australians fall to England 26-21 in the Bowl quarter-final.
The Australians got off to a strong start against England, scoring early through Holland to take a 7-0 lead following a successful conversion to Clark.
The lead didn’t last long as England fired back to take a 14-7 lead at half time before going on to control the second half.
England scored another two tries in the second, while holding Australia scoreless until the late stages of the game.
The Qantas Men’s Sevens were able to notch 14 points toward the end of the half, with tries to Tom Cusack and Ben Adams, but it was too little, too late. Both second half tries were converted by Clark.
The Australians emerged from pool play in Las Vegas in third place, following a win over the United States and losses to Samoa and Spain.
The Australians opened the tournament with a 26-7 win over hosts United States. Tries from Parahi, Foley and Cusack, along with two conversions from Holland, took the Aussies to a 19-0 lead at half time.
Holland added a further seven points in the second half, converting his own try to take his team out to a 26-0 lead.
Their second game of the pool saw a confident Spain control the contest to claim a 24-14 win despite the Australians holding a 14-7 lead at half time.
Australia scored through Holland and Foley, with conversions to Clark, to take the lead at the break, but Spain bounced back with three unmatched tries in the second half.
In their final game of the pool stage, defending Las Vegas Sevens champions Samoa proved too strong, running in four tries to Australia’s one.
Samoa dominated for much of the game, with only a late consolation marker to Holland, who converted his own try.
The Qantas Men’s Sevens will return to action on the HSBC Sevens World Series in Hong Kong on 22-24 March.
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.