Sydney Sevens Day Three: As it happened

by staff

If you're near a TV, tune in to Fox Sports Channel 501 for non-stop Sydney Sevens action! Otherwise, stay tuned to for Day Three.

8:04pm - Senatla's 'bittersweet' send-off 

Seabelo Senatla was the player of the Sydney 7s men's final and the leading tryscorer of the tournament, in his last Sevens outing for 2016-17.

Senatla and teammate Kwagga Smith will join Super Rugby teams now, and the leading World Series tryscorer is hoping to be back in Sydney next season.

"I hope so," he said.

"I think it all depends on coach but on the beginning of the circuit I'm always available. It all depends how they structure everything and how the tournaments are but hopefully I will be back."

Senatla said it was a 'bittersweet' moment to be leaving the program, paying tribute to the Blitzboks for helping him grow.

"It's sad but we knew that this moment was going to come so I kind of prepared myself for this moment, but excited as well," he said.

"I'm Leaving on quite a good note and the guys are actually encouraging me to do my thing. I won't say it's all bitter, it's bittersweet in a sense.

"It's quite incredible to finish like this. The system has given me so much as a player, not just with my rugby but i"m more developed now as a human being as well.

"I think it's a perfect way to leave the system."

7:09pm - Cup Final - Full-time - South Africa  29 - England - 14

The Blitzboks have taken out the Sydney Sevens. Photo: Walmsley

South Africa have done it! The Blitzboks have continued their 2016-17 dominance with their third win from the first four World Series tournaments. Tries to captain Philip Snyman and Seabelo Senatla in his last tournament before joining Super Rugby's Stormers helped them on their way, while a double from Justin Geduld was handy. England kept fighting but ultimately the Boks were too good.

6:43pm - Bronze medal - Full-time - New Zealand 29 - Australia 14

Australia has finished fourth at the Sydney Sevens after going down to New Zealand. A brave effort from a bunch of young guys battling well above their weight. Plenty to be proud of for the home side this weekend.

6:30pm - Bronze medal - Half-time - New Zealand 17 - Australia 7

The Aussies are still in contention for a bronze medal finish at the Sydney Sevens, in a tight opening half against the All Blacks Sevens. Two early tries to New Zealand gave them the early advantage before Australia hit back through Lachie Anderson. A late try to DJ Forbes kept New Zealand in the lead at the break, and in the box seat for the bronze.

6:19pm - 5th place playoff - Full-time - Fiji 35 - USA 12

Fiji has finished fifth at the Sydney Sevens, giving their huge contingent of Sydney fans something to cheer about. A double to Nemani Nagusa helped them to their big victory against the up-and-coming USA. The bronze is next. Can the Aussies clinch third over New Zealand?

5:46pm - Trophy Final - Full time - Russia 26 - France 0

Russia has crushed France in the Trophy Final, rounding the tournament out on a high. The French were never in the contest as Russia piled on four unanswered tries to lift the Trophy in front of the Allianz crowd.

5:36pm - Quarter-final dominance helps Aussies

They're out of contention for the Cup but Australia's day began with a quarter-final crushing of Wales.

5:18pm - Aussies left to go for bronze

Tate McDermott is one of the youngsters who has put in his all. Photo: Walmsley

A yellow card for James Stannard didn't help the Aussies' cause. Photo: Walmsley

5:12pm - 13th Place Playoff Final - Full-time - Kenya 5  - Canada 10

Canada has finished the Sydney Sevens on a high, beating out Canada for 13th spot. It mightn't seem like much, but every World Series point can be crucial, so a win's a win. Kudos to the Kenya fans, who have been camped in the North-East corner of the ground all weekend and were enthusiastic right to the end.

5:03pm - Friend proud of Sevens rookies

Australian Men’s Sevens coach Andy Friend admits discipline proved costly in a chaotic Cup Semi Final loss to South Africa

The Aussies had a sniff of an upset against South Africa trailing 12-5 at the break but back-to-back yellow cards to Mick Adams and James Stannard were too much for the hosts to handle, as the Blitzboks flexed their attacking muscles.

They're a quality side - that first try - not many teams can score that,” Friend said after the match.

“We were trying in defence we just couldn't get there, so you've got to give them that one. - Andy Friend

“Then it was just discipline - we said at the start of the game we wanted to keep the pressure on them - we gave them a quick tap penalty, the pressure was relieved and they came back at us hard.

“Discipline hurt us there today.”

Friend spoke to the importance of physicality after his team’s form took an upward turn in the last two matches yesterday and conceded there were a few sore bodies in the fifth game in two days.

“For young blokes, I thought they put their bodies on the line and that's all I can ask - we need to get stronger which we will - we've got 18 and 19-year-old boys out there so game five of a two day tournament there are tired bodies and they're learning what those bodies have to go through,” he said.

“I'm really proud of their efforts - we will get stronger in time.”

A bronze medal playoff now awaits the team, where they will have a chance for revenge against New Zealand after the Kiwis topped their pool yesterday.

“You get to a semi and you want to go one better but whilst that's disappointing we will look back at this and think that it was a good result to get there," Friend said.

“In saying that, we have one game to go against the All Blacks, we let them off, in my opinion, when we leaked a couple of soft tries in the first game of the tournament so we've got to be better - we've got to finish off and get a win there.”

4:55pm - Classics match - Full-time - Australia 33 - Fiji 26

The kick and giggle is over now - it's back to business. That was entertaining, though, and in good news, it looks like they all made it through without twinging a hamstring, calf, or any kind of soft tissue damage. Let's all just be grateful for that.

4:50pm - Classics Match - Australia 28 - Fiji - 26

Absolute shambles from the Classic Wallabies, with Adam Freier and Mark Gerrard both tackling the wrong bloke, as another slips around the outside and scores a try. Communication, lads. Hoiles makes up for his team's mixup down the other end, with an uncharacteristically effective dummy to score. Patrick Phibbs has one after Lote Tuqiri broke through again and it's a two-point game!

4:45pm - Compliments for the Classics - Half-time - Australia 14 - Fiji 19

On the money now, but let's see how they go in the second half... Fiji over again and they take the lead, just shy of half-time.

4:42pm - Classics match - Burgess goes over! - 14-12

Luke Burgess has the second for the Aussies but Fiji have answered!! Meanwhile Stephen Hoiles is already calling for a sub and explaining why he missed the final tackle that led to the Fij's first try.

A beautiful offload from RADDDIIIIKKKKKEEEE Samo and they go over again, leaving an Aussie carnage in their wake. 

4:39pm - Classics match - Australia vs Fiji

The moment we've all been waiting for - the opportunity to watch some golden oldies go at it. And before I've even finished this sentence, Lote Tuqiri has gone over for the Aussies! Tuning up for the Tens. Some of the other big names lining up today - Luke Burgess, Patrick Phibbs, Mark Gerrard, Julian Huxley and Adam Freier (25 Wallabies caps). 

4:35pm - Men's Cup Semi Final - Full time - South Africa 26 Australia 12

Andy Friend's young charges battled well, but couldn't overcome the Blitzboks. Photo: WalmsleyThe fairytale is over. Australia has been eliminated from the Cup competition after falling well short against South Africa. The Australians, aided by a pair of penalties, marched in the South African 22 to start the second half but were penalised for not releasing the ball almost immediately. Then, with almost five minutes remaining, Mick Adams was shown a yellow card after a spear tackle. Disaster struck for the Aussies immediately after, as James Stannard was sin binned for tripping an opponent. The Blitzboks capitalised on the two man advantage and Chris Dry scored under the posts to take the lead out to 19-5. The South Africans put the icing on the cake when Smith crossed for his second of the match.

4:25pm - Men's Cup Semi Final - Half time - South Africa 12 - Australia 5

The Blitzboks got off to the best possible start as Kwagga Smith dotted down under the posts to open up a 7-0 lead. Tim Anstee answered straight back with a run that split the South Africans right up the middle. The Australians defended well again for the remainder of the half but a late penalty gave the South Africans one last chance to score after the siren and they did just that. Seabelo Senatla the try scorer.

4:15pm - Men's Cup Semi Final - Full time - England 12 - New Zealand 5

ENGLAND HAVE DONE IT! The Poms are through to the Cup Final after a last gasp win over New Zealand. An outstanding turn of foot by Tom Bowen set up the match-winning try for Oliver Lindsay-Hague. A fantastic performance by the English who will now face the winner of Australia-South Africa in the Final at 6:51pm AEDT.

4:05pm - Men's Cup Semi Final - Half time - New Zealand 5 - England 5

The Kiwis drew first blood as Tim Mikkelson put Regan Ware over for a try in the right hand corner. The same duo looked to have combined for another five pointer two minutes later, only for the final pass to be ruled forward. Phil Burgess showed fantastic initiative with 90 seconds in the first term remaining as he scooted away from the back of a ruck and stood a New Zealand defender up on his way to a levelling try.

3:50pm - Men's 5th Place Playoff Semi Final - Full time - USA 19 - Wales 10

Folau Niua sucking in the big ones on Day Three of the Sydney Sevens. Photo: Walmsley

USA will meet Fiji in the 5th Place Playoff after a last minute try to Carlin Isles secured a tough win. Martin Iosefo and Isles both crossed under the posts for the Americans in the first five minutes, opening up a 14-0 half time lead. The first five minutes of the second half was all Wales, though, as James Botham crossed for a brace. A superb cut-out ball from Folau Niua put Isles in for his second of the match, sealing victory with a final score of 19-10.

3:25pm - Men's 5th Place Playoff Semi Final - Full time - Fiji 38 - Argentina 21

Argentina and Fiji thrilled Allianz Stadium this afternoon. Photo: Getty Images

Fiji have made amends for their heartbreaking Cup Quarter Final loss to New Zealand with a second half blitz against Argentina. The two teams traded terrific tries in the first half, with Argentina capitalising every time Fiji made a handling error to shoot out to a 21-10 half time lead. Kalione Nasoko crossed for the Fijians almost immediately after the break, exploiting what was some poor pillar defensive work by the Argentinians. Trailing 21-17 with four minutes to play, Alivereti Veitokani dazzled the crowd with a beautiful right foot step and put Fiji back in front. Samisoni Viriviri split Argentina up the middle two minutes later, opening up a 31-21 lead for the crowd favourites. The Fijians showed their natural flair by scoring once more after the siren, booking a spot in the 5th Place Playoff.

3:11pm - Check out some of photographer Stu Walmsley's best shots from Day Three so far...

Fijians young and old were out in force in Sydney. Photo: Walmsley

Henry Hutchison trying to beat the heat in Sydney. Photo: Walmsley

It was party time for Fiji fans, until their quarter-final defeat. Photo: Walmsley

The face of heartbreak – Sam Myers reacts after being ruled out of the Sydney finals. Photo: Walmsley

The USA trying to hang on against a rampant South Africa in their quarter-final. Photo: Walmsley

3:05pm - Trophy Semi Final - France 19 - Japan 12

France Japan kept their hot form up straight out of the gates after a superb run and flick pass by Jamie Henry put Katsuyaki Sakai in for their first try. The same duo combined again to set up Sakai's second, as the Japanese opened up a 12-0 lead. The French came out all guns blazing in the second term and wrestled back the lead with three straight tries to earn a Trophy Final berth.

2:42pm - Trophy Semi Final - Full time - Russia 17 - Samoa 12

Russia will advance to the Trophy Final after notching a win against Samoa. The Russians were a touch more composed with ball in hand and it proved to be the difference between the two sides, as Samoa fell short by a try.

2:22pm - 13th Place Playoff Semi Final - Full time - Canada 33 - PNG 20

Canada opened up a two-try lead inside the first five minutes thanks to an Adam Zaruba double. The Canadiens crossed twice more before the half time siren, all but ensuring a win. William Tirang crossed for PNG early in the second term but Canada hit straight back through a nice run by Caleb Jordan. PNG crossed for two more consolation tries but they were no match for the clinical Canadiens.

2:10pm - See what Andy Friend and James Stannard had to say after the Aussie Men booked a Semi Final berth

James ‘Chucky’ Stannard is the last veteran standing for Australia and the 33-year-old is leading the way in the side’s remarkable run to a semi-final.

Stannard’s sideline conversions in Australia’s 26-0 win over Wales showed the skill he still possesses and new defensive tricks surprised even coach Andy Friend.

“His kicking game's outstanding and some of those double efforts in defence, I haven't seen that from Chucky before,” he said.

“The young blokes see the old bull doing that and he's played the most minutes out of anyone now, second tournament in a row, and I think they all believe they can do it,” he said.

When tournament skipper Sam Myers was ruled out of the final Sydney day on Sunday Stannard stepped up and said his approach to leadership was pretty simple.

“I just try and lead by example and try not to spray them too much I guess. I just go about doing my own business and let those young blokes play,” he said.

Despite being by far the oldest head in the Sydney team, Stannard is the endurance leader, on top of the minutes for the past two tournaments, but showing no sign of wear.

“He's probably at the moment the spiritual leader as well,” Friend said.

“He's (twice) the age of some of these boys as well, so I think for the young blokes just to know they've got that voice of reason behind them.”

Australia faces South Africa in the semi-final and Friend said their strategy would be basic.

“You've got to get up in their face. You give them time to wind up and they're going to hurt you,” he said.

2:01pm - 13th Place Playoff Semi Final - Kenya 19 - Scotland 14

Mark Robertson is met by some strong Kenyan defense. Photo: Getty Images

Scotland have crashed out of the Sydney Sevens with another disappointing performance against Kenya. The Scots got out to the perfect start when the fleet footed James Fleming set up skipper Scott Wight for a try. Kenya levelled things up after some individual brilliance from William Ambaka Ndayara and the two sides went into half time at 7-all. But it was the Kenyans who had the final say, as they took the lead with 3 minutes to play and then made their lead unassailable one minute later, as superb sub Nelson Oyoo crossed before Daniel Sikuta touched down. A late consolation try to the Scots was all they could muster in what has been a horror tournament.

1:35pm - Your Men's Cup Semi Finalists are...

1:30pm - Men's Cup QF - Full time - Australia 26 - Wales 0

Australia have stamped themselves as genuine Sydney 7s contenders after a fantastic performance against Wales in the Cup Quarter Final. The Australians have not conceded a point for three halves of rugby after shutting PNG out in the second half last night and Wales for the entire match today.

Charlie Taylor staves off a pair of Canadian defenders. Photo: Getty Images

The Welsh dominated possession for the first three minutes of the second half but weren't able to puncture the Australian defensive line, which has proved solid all tournament. Mick Adams was sin binned for being involved in a scuffle with 3:30 to play but not even a one man advantage could aid the Welsh cause. Liam McNamara pinched the ball from the back of a Welsh ruck 30 metres out from the Australian line and set up a 2-on-1 opportunity for James Stannard and Simon Kennewell, the latter crossing for Australia's fourth try.

1:15pm - Men's Cup QF - Half time - Australia 19 - Wales 0

Henry Hutchison takes flight against Wales. Photo: Getty Images

Henry Hutchison recovered from what looked to be a bad head knock to score the first points of the match for the Aussies, showing some clean hands to pick up a wayward pass and run 50 metres down the left hand sideline to score. Charlie Taylor was then denied a potential penalty try after a wonderful chip and chase effort but Alex Gibbon was rewarded for a pair of superb cleanouts with a five pointer of his own with 2:30 to play. Hutchison made it a first half double after the siren, beating a defender with a neat right foot step and dotting down on the left hand sideline.

1:05pm - Men's Cup QF - Full time - South Africa 21 - USA 10

South Africa will await the winner of the Australia-Wales Quarter Final after notching a comfortable 21-10 win over USA. The Americans burst out of the gates, dominating early possession to work up field and find space for Carlin Isles to open the scoring. But the Blitzboks hit straight back, as Justin Geduld showed a clean pair of heels to scoot down the left hand touchline and run 50 metres to put the South Africans back in front, 7-5. Geduld broke the game open as the half time siren sounded, intercepting a loose pass and setting up a try under the posts for Chris Dry - handing the Blitzboks a 14-5 lead at the break.

Stephen Tomasin drew the Americans within four of the South Africans with 3:30 to play but the Blitzboks hit straight back through star livewire Seabelo Senatla to open up a final 21-10 scoreline.

1:00pm - Myers to miss Day Three

Aussie skipper Sam Myers has been ruled out of Day Three of the Sydney Sevens.

In case you missed it, the Aussie Men's side has been dealt another injury blow with news Sam Myers won't play today. Read more here:

12:30pm - Men's Cup QF - Full time - New Zealand 24 - Fiji 21

New Zealand have broken Fijian hearts all around Allianz Stadium after snatching an incredible win in a heart-stopping Cup Quarter Final. The teams scored two tries a piece in the first term but Fiji converted both of their tries and took a 14-12 lead into the break. New Zealand made quick work of the lead, as a Tim Mikkelson quick tap and pass put Sherwin Stowers over in the right hand corner. Stowers had a brain explosion one minute later, launching into a shoulder charge which saw him marched to the sin bin. Fiji capitalised and took a 21-17 lead after a second try to Kalione Nasoko with three minutes to play. The Fijians looked to have booked a ticket to the Semi Final with the Kiwis needing to work the ball the length of the field to score after the siren but they did just that - Sione Molia touching down to notch a 24-21 win.

12:20pm - Men's Cup QF - Full time - England 17 - Argentina 7

Alex Davis scored the sealer for England. Photo: Getty Images

England are the first team through to the Cup semi-finals, after a tough win over Argentina. England had the first two tries, before Argentina hit back to make it a five-point margin.  A yellow card for captain Tom Mitchell hurt the English, but Alex Davis clinched the sealer with a perfectly-timed dive. England plays the winner of New Zealand and Fiji in the semi at 3:53pm AEDT. The highest Argentina can finish now is fifth.

11:56am - Men's Challenge Trophy QF - France 17 - PNG 0

Papua New Guinea have shown promise in both the men's and women's competitions in Sydney but they were bested by France in their bid to reach the Challenger Trophy semis. The opening results mean that it's Russia, Samoa, Japan and France in the running for the minor prize, with the schedule below.

2:25pm: Russia vs Samoa

2:47pm - Japan vs France

Now for the main event - the Cup quarter-finals! 

11:30am - Men's Challenge Trophy QF - Canada 0 - Japan 19

Japan have sprung an upset over Canada, in what has become an underdogs morning in the Challenger Trophy. Bundled out of the Cup competition, the Canadians just couldn't find an answer for their opposition, in a shutout.

11:12am - Men's Challenge Trophy QF - Samoa 21 - Scotland 14

It has been a case of so close yet so far all for Scotland all tournament and this match was no different. Fleming was among their best once again but a superb 80 metre chip and chase try to Lafaele Tuliu Vaa clinched the match for the Samoans. They will face the Russians next. Canada and Japan are up on Allianz now.

10:52am - Men's Challenge Trophy QF - Russia 20 - Kenya 0

The first game of Day Three has been all about the Russians, as they romped home to a comfortable 20-0 win against Kenya. The Kenyans will be disappointed with their output in that one, as nearly all Russia's tries were a result of defensive lapses. Scotland v Samoa is up next on Allianz.

10:10am - Welcome to Day Three

James Stannard was one of Australia's best in their two wins on Day Two. Photo: Walmsley

Welcome to third and final day of what has been a spectacular Sydney Sevens. With the Aussie Women's side finishing a disappointing fourth yesterday, all eyes are now on the men, who put together a pair of strong wins against Scotland and PNG yesterday after a tight loss to New Zealand in their opening match. The draw has somewhat opened up for the Andy Friend's side after Wales shocked Fiji in their Pool B clash yesterday. That result means Australia will take on the Welsh in the fourth Quarter Final of the day, kicking off at 1:04pm AEDT. Challenger Trophy Quarter Finals will get the day underway at 10:30am AEDT when Kenya take on Russia, with the first of the Cup Quarter Finals between England and Argentina set to hit Allianz at 11:58am AEDT.