Australia through to Sydney 7s Cup Final

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Australian Men’s Sevens team has a shot at its first Sevens cup title since 2012, winning through to the inaugural Sydney 7s Cup final.

The Aussies pulled off a gripping 12-7 win over South Africa this afternoon, sending them into a rematch against New Zealand Sevens.

Lewis Holland and James Stannard put Australia up 12-0 at half-time and despite a second half reply from South Africa, the Australians managed to hold out the Blitzboks to make their first final this season

After playing out a 17-17 draw on the opening night of the Sydney Sevens, Sunday’s Cup final will be the most-anticipated match of the weekend between fierce rivals.

While they will draw somewhat on that first match up, Australia captain Ed Jenkins said the side knows it won’t play out the same way the second time around.

“You can look at the players they threw at us but they’ll be doing exactly the same,” he said.

“Smart teams always change it up so I think you’ve got to be able to adapt whilst you’re out there and hopefully we can get revenge.”

Smart is a word that came up again with coach Andy Friend, who said they would have to use intelligence to beat the Kiwis, who outsize the Australians.

Tom Cusack faces a defender in the Sydney 7s Cup semi. Photo: ARU Media/Stu Walmsley

“They’re getting belief in what they’re doing.

“We’re not the biggest side but we’ve had the accuracy in the breakdown and what the ball carrier’s doing.

“The Kiwis are about 10 kg heavier to a man so if we’re not smart with what we’re doing physically we’re going to turn it over.

“Where we've been smart today, we’ve challenged at the right times and been first at the breakdown.

“If we do that tonight for 20 minutes we stand a good chance.”

A  final berth won’t be enough for Jenkins, who has set the tone for Australia with his physicality over the weekend.

Jenkins said he felt there was better Rugby in the team than what they’d shown so far.

“If you look at it like that it’s successful but I don’t think we’ve played our best footy yet. I ‘d really like to go out in the final and try to string together a clinical performance where we can show the crowd what we’ve got.

“I thought we scrambled really well, I thought the guys dug deep and close game really tight.

“Under pressure we came through with some of the older guys showing their experience and it really helped.”

Australia takes on the Kiwis at 7:04pm AEDT, with the match broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS 2 502.