Aussies take out Oktoberfest 7s

International
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Aussie Sevens men have claimed their first piece of major international silverware since 2012, taking out the inaugural Oktoberfest 7s against Fiji, 40-7.

Four first-half tries in three minutes broke the game open for Australia, taking a 26-0 lead into the break as they starved Fiji of the ball.

The Aussie Sevens slipped out of Fiji's grasp. Photo: AFPAustralia’s youngsters faced a major challenge, missing leaders James Stannard (rib) and Tom Lucas (concussion), with John Porch leading the side into the final, but that didn’t seem to affect them.

Both sides showed desperation, and it was Australia with the first genuine chance, and they took the lead with Maurice Longbottom kick setting up Ben O’Donnell for the first try in the third minute.

Towering utility Tim Anstee followed that up 90 seconds later, collecting a stealthy Porch pass to increase their advantage, before speedster Simon Kennewell and Lachie Anderson added two more in as many minutes.

Longbottom had his fifth tournament five-pointer in the 12th minute, with another star turn capping off a sensational debut international outing for the former South Sydney rugby league junior.

Eroni Vucago hit back for Fiji, breaking their duck, but ultimately it was too little, too late for the Pacific Islanders.

Ben O'Donnell racked up 20 points for Australia. Photo: AFPAustralia was the only team to beat Fiji in the tournament, and the win gave them a perfect run through the first German competition.

The Oktoberfest 7s is one of a handful of new invitational professional tournaments that will give teams more chance to play outside of the World Series.

While it is not a World Series event, coach Andy Friend said post-match that a taste of any silverware would be handy for his side, showing its depth.

Australia last won a World Series tournament in 2012, in Japan. Photo: Getty ImagesAustralia has not won a World Series tournament since 2012, in Tokyo, last featuring in a cup final in the 2016 las Vegas Sevens

“We’ve got some very good footballers sitting at home and they’ve now got to fight their way back,” Friend said.

“We haven’t won anything, really since 2012, that was the last world series tournament,” he said.

“We said this year we wanted to win stuff. It’s not the World Series but it’s a really important tournament for us and I think it shows the boys’ belief.”

The first World Series tournament kicks off in Dubai in December, with the Aussie Sevens still to play a handful of international and local invitationals.

RESULT

Australia 40

Tries: O’Donnell 2, Anstee, Kennewell, Anderson, Longbottom

Cons: O’Donnell 5 

Fiji 7

Tries: Vucago

Con: 1

FINAL STANDINGS

Bronze medal playoff

South Africa 42 - England 7

Plate final (fifth-place playoff)

Argentina 17 - Germany 19

Seventh-place playoff

Ireland 14 - France 12

Ninth-place playoff

Spain 33 - Uganda 12