Yesterday, we reviewed the first half of the 2013/14 HSBC Sevens World Series season. Today, we take a look at the second half of the season.
In wet and windy conditions in Wellington, Australia went one better to finish fifth. A tight defeat to South Africa (10-0), preceded wins over Argentina and Canada as Michael O’Connor’s side took out the Plate Final. One of the highlights of the 2013/14 World Series saw winger Shannon Walker score one of the tries of the season as she stormed the length of the field to touch down against Samoa.
After six years in the role, Michael O’Connor announced he would be stepping down from his position as Head Coach at the end of the 2013/14 season.
Australia secured another fifth place in Tokyo with Cameron Clark notching 43 points as the Aussies defeated Spain and Scotland in the group stages before falling to New Zealand in the Cup Quarter-Finals. However, victories over Kenya and the USA secured another Plate triumph. Former Waratah Afa Pakalani was handed his World Series debut in Japan.
The team’s improved consistency was rewarded with a fourth place finish a week at a noisy Hong Kong Sevens tournament. ARU CEO Bill Pulver presented skipper Ed Jenkins with a national record-equalling 29th cap while Greg Jeloudev was rewarded with his displays with a spot in the tournament ‘Dream Team’. Australia topped Group B after beating Series-chasing South Africa (10-7).
Outgoing Head Coach Michael O’Connor announced the squad for the last two rounds of the Sevens World Series in Glasgow and Twickenham, with Lausii Taliauli set for his World Series debut after being named in the 12-man party to travel to Europe.
Australia qualified for the Cup Quarter-Finals after beating Spain and the USA in the pool stages. Defeat to New Zealand (19-7) in the Cup Quarter-Finals was followed by another loss to England (21-7) in the Plate Semi-Final as the Aussies finished joint seventh.
Twickenham has been a happy-hunting ground for Australian Sevens sides in recent years and 2014 was no different. In Michael O’Connor’s farewell as Head Coach, Australia played some of its finest football of the season as they saw off Kenya and hosts England in the knockout stages. Despite leading the Cup Final 21-0 at one stage, the New Zealanders turned it around to take out tournament 52-33 in a memorable game. Sam Myers was named in the ‘Dream Team’ for the tournament.
May also saw the ARU appoint Geraint John as the new Head Coach of the Men’s Sevens team, effective June. John’s first tournament will be the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in July.
Key Statistics at-a-glance
- Australia finished fifth with 116 points
- There were five ever-present players in the squad during the 2013/14 season – Nick Malouf, Jesse Parahi, Sam Myers, Tom Lucas and Con Foley
- Cameron Clark was named in the ‘Team of the Season’ – the sole Australian representative
- Cameron Clark was the team top points scorer with 229 points
- Shannon Walker was the team top try scorer with 21