Aussies on learning curve after seventh-place finish

by Jill Scanlon

Australia has finished its Canada Sevens tournament in seventh place following losses in two tough finals day matches.

They started well in their quarter-final against Fiji, Nick Malouf getting the first points on the board under heavy tackle pressure from two opponents as he secured the grounding beneath him.

Henry Hutchison then looked to be heading for one of his trademark corner dives when he was taken down and into touch by Jerry Tuwai.

Tuwai's move turned into a 10-point turnaround, with the Fijian star finding some space and running the length of the field for a try of his own.

As the half-time break loomed, Masivesi Dakuwaqa got Fiji’s second and the 14-5 score at the break showed how crucial conversions are in the game of sevens, and two Solid work at the breakdown by Fiji made getting and retaining possession very difficult for the Aussies.

Tim Anstee reduced the gap with a strong try following an impressive run from Brandon Quinn but it was too late in the game to threaten Fiji’s hold on the outcome, with the defending World Series champs running out 28-10 winners.

With three teams from the Oceania region in the top eight, it is not surprising that Australia found itself again battling a Pacific neighbour in the fifth-place semi-final, with New Zealand their foe.

Australia had brought 13th man Mick Adams onto the bench after veteran Ed Jenkins was ruled out of the game with injury concerns.

Scott Curry got the All Black Sevens on the board with the only score in the first half – New Zealand taking a 7-0 lead into the break.

The second half was another tale of the youngsters, but this time they were scoring for the Kiwis.

Beaudein Waaka went over for an early second half try and then Andrew Knewstubb scored just his third career try having debuted in Sydney.

The final score of 21-0 did not reflect the calibre of the contest but did perhaps attest to the physical attrition experienced by young players after a fortnight of tournament play.

New Zealand moves into the fifth-place playoff against Argentina while Australia thanked the Vancouver crowd with the traditional lap of the stadium.

The Aussies will take away valuable experience from the North American leg of the World Series as it prepares for round seven in Hong Kong next month.


Cup quarter-final - Australia 10 - Fiji 28

Fifth-place semi-final - Australia 0 - New Zealand 21

Final placing: 7th