The Qantas Men’s Sevens dipped out of round three of the HSBC Sevens World Series in Port Elizabeth, South Africa losing the Bowl Final to England by 28 – 19 overnight.
It was a spectacularly emotional round at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, with the Cup trophy fittingly awarded to a motivated and passion-fuelled South African Sevens squad after they overcame Rugby Sevens heavyweights, New Zealand 17 – 14 in the Final.
Australia kicked off its campaign with a tough opening battle against recent Dubai Sevens Champions, Fiji on day one.
The team was denied a first game win, going down 26 – 5 to Fiji, with only the one try to speedster, Shannon Walker in the second half shortly after Sam Myers ran on for his debut for Australia.
The next match against Scotland delivered a better outcome with the Australians turning the result around following their last loss to the Scots at the Dubai Sevens. The final score was 31 – 19 in favour of the Aussies following a succession of tries by Shannon Walker (2), Luke Morahan (2) and Tom Lucas.
The Australians couldn’t repeat the victory in their next match against France suffering a 19 – 12 loss with Super Rugby talent, Luke Morahan and 2013 Qantas Men’s Sevens Player of the Year, Con Foley the only try scorers.
It was a case of deja vu for Australia, with the two losses on day one mirroring their Dubai Sevens campaign the week prior, dropping them out of Cup contention and into the Bowl Quarter Final on the second day.
The Qantas Men’s Sevens once again lifted in their opening Bowl Quarter Final match on day two, cementing a strong 38 – 5 win against Zimbabwe. Australia dominated from the start with two tries to Shannon Walker and one to Paul Asquith in the first half.
Walker crossed the line for a match hat-trick in the second half, before debutant Sam Myers ran in for his own very first try for Australia after coming on as a replacement.
The Qantas Men’s Sevens progressed to the Bowl Final to face England where the in-form Shannon Walker added a further two tries to his tally followed by two successful conversions to youngster, Paul Asquith. But despite their 14 – 7 half-time lead, the Aussies were unable to hold off a powerful England outfit.
England was quick to draw the score soon into the second half, which was answered when Asquith starred again, this time adding points in the form of a try. It wasn’t enough though as England crossed the line for two more, jumping ahead of the Qantas Men’s Sevens by 28 – 19 at the full-time siren to pluck the Bowl from Australia’s grasp.
The 16 international Rugby Sevens teams joined together with fans during round three of the HSBC Sevens World Series, at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth with an emotional tribute to the late former South African President.
As the last 2013/14 HSBC Sevens World Series round for the year, the pools and draws for the next tournament in January 2014 were announced. The Qantas Men’s Sevens were drawn in Pool B and will face New Zealand, Fiji and Scotland in Las Vegas in round four on 24 – 26 January 2014.
The second round of the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series, where Australia’s recent Dubai Sevens Champions will be looking to continue their winning form, will take place in Atlanta, Georgia, USA on 15 – 16 February 2014.
Follow the Qantas Men’s and Women’s Sevens with updates on Twitter @Aussie7s.