Australia look for silver linings after golden hopes dashed

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

They aren’t in medal contention but Australia’s men’s Sevens side are still looking to glean something from their debut Olympics.

A 22-5 loss to South Africa on Thursday ended their hunt for a gold medal, relegating them to the 5-8 playoff bracket.

While coach Andy Friend said the side was “gutted” to miss out on the podium but trying to keep things in perspective.

The Aussie Sevens are sticking together. Photo: Getty Images“We're still at the Olympics, we're still playing for our country, we've got a lot of pride there,” Friend said.

“Only four teams have gone through, there's eight teams that have missed out so we just want to make sure we finish strong.

Australia’s quarter-final loss came after a win over South Africa in their final pool match, but Friend said those two matches were incomparable.

“We met a different South African side,” he said..

“We gave them a fright this morning and were good enough to have a win. The game of Sevens, it just changes on a dime.

“I thought this afternoon, or this evening, they were probably a bit more confrontational at the breakdown, upset a little bit of our ball and they took their opportunities when they came.”

Australia will play Argentina tomorrow. Photo: Getty ImagesTheir next challenge is a clash with Argentina, with the victor to face the winner of New Zealand and France for fifth spot, and the losers to fight it out for seventh.

The draw means it could give Australia a chance to take some trans-Tasman bragging rights home from Rio.

“New Zealand's always a rival, we like to beat them,” he said.

“We'll create an environment tomorrow that makes it a challenge for us.

“We're disappointed we're out of the semi finals and out of the race now for a medal but we've still got something to play for and we'll make sure we put a good showing on there.”