2018 Sydney 7s Day three: As it happened

by Sam Phillips

As far as Sevens tournaments go, it doesn't get much better.

Australia's men and women have both claimed Sydney 7s Cup glory, in what was a triumphant day for Australian rugby.

Here's how all the action panned out.

11:40pm - That's all, folks

Australia are Sydney 7s champions. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyICYMI, here's our final match report and full wrap of the reaction from the men's Cup victory.

Thanks for joining us this weekend.

10:20pm - Foley, John feeling the love


10:15pm - Friend cuts elated figure

Coach Andy Friend said the tournament win will provide "enormous belief" for his troops moving forward, after they flicked the switch to become legitimate players on the World Series stage.

"We have been building," he said.

"We've got quite an aggressive defensive system and throughout the course of the weekend and on occasions we haven’t believed in it - we pulled out.


"We said 'Listen do we really believe? Do we really believe in this?'

"And the boys did and from that minute it was a different team.

"To me, that was the difference."

10:06pm - Hear from Holland, Anstee

Here's what Lewi Holland and Tim Anstee had to stay after they shocked the Blitzboks in the Cup final.



9:10pm - Men's Cup final - Australia 29 South Africa 0

Australia have claimed their first Cup since 2012, keeping the Blitzboks scoreless in an incredible performance at Allianz Stadium.

The heat was on the Aussies from the outset but Jesse Parahi forced a critical penalty at a defensive breakdown to clear Australian lines.

As Australia pressed, Lewi Holland made a very rare mistake in the South African half, turning the ball back over.Lewi Holland has led Australia to their first World Series title since 2012. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyThe Blitzboks withstood some Australian pressure of their own before securing a turnover, Lachie Anderson running the length of the field to stop Rosko Specman scoring a brilliant chip and chase try from inside his own half.

At the other end, one minute later, Holland busted two South African tackles to score the first try of the final.

Anderson went from try saver to try creator in the final play of the first half, popping an offload to an airborne James Stannard, who scored under the posts.

A couple of loose balls fell the way of the Australians at the resumption of play and Stannard took full advantage, placing a perfectly weighted grubber while being tackled into touch that sat up into the arms of John Porch, who scored Australia's third.John Porch dives over. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyThen, from a penalty inside South African territory, a set play down the right hand side created the necessary space for Ben O'Donnell to score Australia's fourth, leaving South Africa a 24 point deficit to eradicate in just three minutes.

O'Donnell, fittingly, put the final nail in the Blitzbok coffin, leaving Seabelo Senatla clutching at air in a one-on-one situation.

A remarkable win for a side that finished 5th in Dubai and 9th in Cape Town.

Well played, boys.

8:44pm - Australia prepare for Cup showdown

With Australia minutes away from taking on the Blitzboks in the Cup final, this video is sure to get the competitive juices flowing.


8:40pm - Men's bronze medal match - Argentina 31 USA 10

A much improved Argentina outfit have claimed bronze in Sydney, flogging a disappointing USA outfit in the bronze medal match.

Folau Niua gifted Argentina an early try when, while being tackled into touch, he tossed the ball straight into the arms of Franco Sabato, who strolled over to score untouched.

Lautaro Bazan Velez then scored a superb individual try from 50 out, splitting the line, palming Niua and keeping his feet before diving over.Argentina were much improved against USA. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyUSA finally got their hands on the ball and Martin Iosefo matched Velez's try with some individual brilliance of his own, grubbering behind the line, cleaning the ball up and scoring to keep his team in touch at the break.

Conrado Roura pushed the margin back out for the Argentinians when he scored under the posts after play resumed, a loose ball cleaned up by Sabato turning into five more points and putting the result beyond doubt.

8pm - Men's 5th place playoff - New Zealand 31 Fiji 7

New Zealand rookie Caleb Clarke scored his first World Series try in the opening minute and Sione Molia followed suit three minutes later.

The Kiwis were in complete control when Vilimoni Koroi found space through the heart of the Fijian defence, Regan Ware adding New Zealand's fourth inside the space of seven minutes.Fiji fans haven't had much to smile about on day three. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyKiwi veteran Tim Mikkelson split the line once more to score New Zealand's fifth before Eroni Sau finally put Fiji on the board.

That would be the final scoring act, Fiji finishing a disappointing sixth in front of their vocal fans.

7:32pm - Classics take centre stage

The 2018 edition of the Classic Wallabies and Classic Fiji clash was as entertaining as ever - here's a few snaps fresh from the Australian win.A slightly overqualified waterboy... Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyIt was all happening in the Classics match. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyDrew Mitchell smiles for the camera post match. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley

7:22pm - Trophy final - France 29 Wales 12

It's been an action packed day of finals footy in Sydney. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyBoth sides crossed twice in the first term, locking the score at 12-all heading into the break.

Regular suspects Steeve Barry and JP Barraque added three tries between them in the second term, ensuring France would walk away with the trophy in the process.

7:03pm - Men's 13th place playoff - Canada 14 Scotland 12

Canada will leave Sydney on some sort of a high, scraping past Scotland in the 13th place playoff.

The Canadians were down to eight players after suffering four injuries over the past three days and after some disappointing results in the days prior, they edged out a willing Scotland outfit.

7pm - Stannard speaks post Cup semi win

ICYMI, you can find a match report and full post game reaction to Australia's comprehensive display in the Cup semi against Argentina here.

James Stannard said the Aussies just have to believe they can beat the all-powerful Blitzboks.

"I think we have just had enough coming second and losing there’s a stage where you have to flick and say we want it," he said.


"I think in previous tournaments we’ve wanted to go out and win but I don’t think we have believed we can do it.

"I think in the last week have trained really hard and put ourselves past that pain barrier and we're prepared for anything out there."

As always, we've got all your highlight needs covered as well.


6:45pm - Aussies all smiles

Take a look at the celebrations after Australia claimed the women's title in resounding fashion.


6:20pm - Men's Cup semi-final - Australia 28 Argentina 0

Lewi Holland added two more tries to his tournament tally against Argentina. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyAustralia had all the ball in the first two minutes and after Santiago Mare was sent to the bin for a cynical offside tackle, Lewi Holland beat three Argentinian defenders en route to the first try of the match.

The Aussies blew a golden opportunity with a wayward pass five minutes later but it was a pinpoint ball from James Stannard that put Ben O'Donnell clear, as he ran 50 metres to score untouched, opening up a 14-0 half time lead.

There was a sense of deja vu when Franco Sabato was then binned for the exact same offence as Mare and Holland scored a replica of his first try.Ben O'Donnell scored a spectacular double in the Cup semi. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyO'Donnell then showcased a fend, right foot step and sharp acceleration to nab a brilliant double - booking Australia's ticket to the Cup final.

They'll face South Africa at 8:48pm AEDT.

5:58pm - Men's Cup semi-final - South Africa 35 USA 7

South Africa will face Australia or Argentina in the Cup final, flogging USA in a terrifying display of Sevens rugby.

USA had all the ball in the opening two minutes but within 30 seconds of turning it over Seabelo Senatla had broken clear, running 60 metres to dot it down under the sticks.Carlin Isles and the US couldn't go with the Blitzboks. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyJustin Geduld was sent to the bin for a deliberate knockdown and the Americans took full advantage, Folau Niua throwing a perfect 25m cutout to Perry Baker for his first of the afternoon.

 It was Niua's turn to spend time in the bin next and South Africa made the most of the extra man, crossing through Timothy Agaba and taking a 14-7 lead into the break.


The Blitzboks had another through Werner Kok 30 seconds after play resumed before Geduld scored moments after the US blew a try at the other end.

Senatla grabbed a double and that was all she wrote, the Blitzboks through to their second straight Sydney 7s Cup final.

5:35pm - Men's 5th place playoff semi - New Zealand 10 England 5

New Zealand are back in the winners circle. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyThe TMO denied New Zealand an early try and after soaking up all the pressure that followed, England worked the ball upfield through the middle of the park and broke the deadlock through Ethan Waddleton.

That gave the English a half time lead but it evaporated quick smart, Luke Masiwera crossing before Joseva Ravouvou added his name to the scoresheet.

That 10-5 New Zealand lead would be the final score, England coughing the ball up after the siren as they made one last push to steal the match.

5:12pm - Men's 5th place playoff semi - Fiji 24 Kenya 5

The crowd favourite Fijians started the match with typical flair, Jerry Tuwai drawing first blood.

Amenoni Nasilasila turned constant pressure in the Kenyan red zone into points, giving his side a 14-0 lead at the break.Fiji fans are smiling once more. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyIt wasn't an archetypal Fijian performance but second half tries to Alosio Naduva and Joshua Vakurunabili sealed the result before a late Kenyan consolation try.

Fiji will face the winner of New Zealand and England's clash, which is up next, in the fifth place playoff at 7:39pm AEDT.

4:50pm - Relive Australia's brilliant Cup final performance

ICYMI, here's a full match report and reaction to Australia's enormous win over New Zealand in the women's Cup final.

You can watch the highlights as many times as you like, right here.


Coach Tim Walsh, in his final tournament in charge, took a moment to reflect.

"Because we knew we had it won with two or three minutes to go, it was nice to look around and see the players and I did actually take a moment," he said.


"And also after the game just to embrace the players it was pretty cool with a few tears.

"I was just pleased with how all the girls preformed."


4:48pm - Men's trophy semi-final - France 22 Russia 0

France scored inside 13 seconds through Steeve Barry after plucking the opening kick off and didn't look back, peppering the Russian line with repeated raids deep in the red zone through the first term.

Russia repelled the repeated French efforts to stay within reach at the break but JP Barraque extended his side's lead to 10-0 two minutes into the second half.Russia couldn't overcome France to earn a trophy final berth. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyBarry then added another long range effort to his tally for the tournament, scoring from a movement that started inside France's 22.

Tavite Veredamu scored the sealer, the move again starting from within France's half.

4:25pm - Men's trophy semi-final - Wales 17 Samoa 12

Samoa scored a superb try off the top, Neria Fomai flying onto a perfect pop pass to stroll over untouched.

Wales returned serve through Luke Morgan, the Welsh speedster finding space, stepping inside a pair of defenders and racing away to put his team in front.Samoa duked out an entertaining clash with Wales. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleySamoa hit back, though, Elisapeta Alofipo scoring this time to give his side a 12-7 lead at the break.

Ben Roach levelled things up when play resumed and he scored a second five minutes later to seal the win for the Welsh.

4:04pm - Men's 13th place playoff semi - Scotland 21 Spain 14

Allianz Stadium is filling up with some fantastic costumes. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyThere was little between these two teams on the overall standings prior to this match and there was little between them on field, the score locked at 14-all before Glenn Bryce shrugged off some wanting Spanish defence to claim victory for his side.

3:42pm - Men's 13th place playoff semi - Canada 31 PNG 14

Canada have stopped a bad tournament turning into a horrible one, progressing to the 13th place playoff after dispatching PNG.

PNG hit the front halfway through the second term but Nathan Hirayama scored his 101st career try and converted from out wide to put his team back in front, two more Canadian tries following to seal the result.

3pm - Women's Cup final - Australia 31 New Zealand 0

Australia have claimed gold with a simply spectacular rout of New Zealand in the Cup final.

Superb defence put the Aussies straight on the front foot, pinning New Zealand inside their own 22 before Shannon Parry forced a turnover and scored a try 30 seconds later.

Australia have not conceded a point all tournament and that did not change in the first half, repelling repeated New Zealand pushes inside the red zone before working the ball back upfield and scoring through Charlotte Caslick after the ball was squeezed out the back of a breakdown.Shannon Parry was everywhere early on for Australia. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyCaslick's try opened up a 10-0 half time lead and the floodgates opened after that.

Emilee Cherry stood up a New Zealand defender as soon as play resumed, Ellia Green popping up off her shoulder to score under the sticks and open up a 17-0 break.

Sharni Williams won the ensuing kick off and 30 seconds later, after a brilliant passing chain in which every Australian player touched the ball, Vani Pelite was over.Australia are the Sydney 7s champs. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyEmma Sykes put the icing on the cake after Caslick forced a turnover and the ball spilled to Emma Tonegato.

An incredible performance from an incredible team.

2:35pm - Women's bronze medal match - Canada 40 Russia 12

Britt Benn and Canada were flying in the bronze medal match. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyJulia Greenshields sliced the Russian line from 10 out to draw first blood for Canada and her team was on a roll from that point forward, stringing phase after phase together and finding space for Caroline Crossley to score.

Arina Bystrova then hit back for Russia with her her first touch of the ball but once again, Canada drove the ball upfield, stretched the Russian defence and scored, this time through Breanne Nicholas.Russia fought hard in the bronze medal match. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyRussia narrowed the gap once more two minutes after the half time siren had rung out, Maria Perestiak reaching out to bring the score to 19-12 at the break.

Ghislaine Landry set up Jen Kish to extend Canada's lead to two converted tries with two minutes to play and Greenshields completed a double soon after, Canada claiming bronze in Sydney.

2:08pm - Women's fifth place playoff - France 19 Spain 5

Spain couldn't get over the line against France. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyFrance struck first through Serafine Okemba but that would be the only scoring act of the first half, Montserrat Amedee eventually adding another five points to the France total early in the second term.

Pauline Biscarat then added France's third, Spain failing to fire a shot with star Patricia Garcia injured early in the first half.

1:45pm - Women's 7th place playoff - Ireland 19 USA 10

Ireland have claimed seventh place with a comprehensive display against USA.

Louise Galvin nabbed a double either side of half time, with Murphy Crowe also touching down before two late tries to the US.

1:25pm - Recap Australia's stunning Cup QF win

ICYMI, here's a full match report and reaction to Australia's superb win over tournament favourites and arch rival New Zealand in the Cup quarter final.

We've got all your highlights here and a post game chat with the star of the show, Maurice Longbottom, too.



12:55pm - Men's Cup QF - Argentina 10 England 0

The Cup quarter finals are in the books and Argentina has continued the theme of the round - stunning England to book their spot against Australia in the Cup semi-finals.

Argentina had all the early ball and made England pay for some soft mistakes, Conrado Roura crossing in the opening minute before some dazzling footwork from Lautaro Bazan Velez left England bamboozled en route to his team's second.


England never really threatened the Argentinians, coughing up ball whenever they pushed into the opposition half.

A dour, scoreless second term didn't faze the Argentinians, who emerged with a typically scrappy win.

12:40pm - Aussie women enjoy calm before the storm at Coogee

With their Cup final showdown against New Zealand set to take centre stage at 2:37pm AEDT, the Australian women took a stroll through Coogee to keep cool this morning.


12:30pm - Men's Cup QF - Australia 24 New Zealand 12

A Vilimoni Koroi try in the second minute put Australia on the back foot but some well organised, structured Australian defence frustrated the Kiwis and Tim Mikkelson coughed up the ball soon after.

Ben O'Donnell picked up the scraps and scooted over to level the score at 5-all with one minute to play in the first half.Maurice Longbottom scored a scintillating try against NZ. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyA brilliant set piece play off the top of a lineout put the Australians in front at the break - Lewi Holland popping a ball out the back to a sweeping James Stannard, Charlie Taylor finding space down the right edge to score.

It was Koroi that made Australia pay for some ill-discipline straight after the break, the conversion locking things up at 12-all with four minutes to play.


Coach Andy Friend injected Maurice Longbottom into the fold and with his first touch the livewire stepped inside a New Zealand defender and won a 50 metre foot race to the right corner.

It was left to the skipper Lewi Holland to put the final nail in the coffin, scoring to book Australia's spot in the Cup semi-finals, where they will face the winner of Argentina and England at 5:58pm AEDT.

12:20pm - USA react to shock Cup QF win

USA shocked the Sevens world with a dominant win over Fiji in the Cup QF - here's what Danny Barrett had to say about the win.


12:10pm - Aussies prepare for trans-Tasman battle

See how our Aussie men prepared for their Cup quarter final clash with New Zealand.


12:10pm - Men's Cup QF - South Africa 17 Kenya 0

South Africa are in cruise control. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyIt took two minutes for South Africa to get their hands on the ball but when they did, Seabelo Senatla found space in the left corner to score.

Senatla replicated his opening try with another five pointer in the exact same spot one minute later, Kenya unable to penetrate a strong South African defensive line for the remainder of the first half.

Timothy Agaba was next to cross for the Blitzboks - the final scoring act of the match - securing a win built on defence.

11:50am - Men's Cup QF - USA 24 Fiji 7

USA have stunned the crowd favourite Fijians at Allianz, showing brilliant skill to retain restart after restart and run it four tries to one in their Cup quarter final clash.

USA pinned Fiji in their own half for the first four minutes of the first term and that territory took its toll, Folau Niua diving over.

With Fiji's first real use of the ball Eroni Sau busted a pair of American tackles to put his team in front but there was one play left before the teams broke for half time, Martin Iosefo scoring to put his team in front.

USA silenced the Fijian fans at Allianz. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyIosefo went from scorer to creator in the first minute after the break, Maka Unufe crossing for his team's third.

Perry Baker then completely silenced a Fiji-heavy crowd when he stepped inside three defenders to score under the posts, seasling the result.

11:30am - Alena Mikhaltsova cops eight game suspension

Russian captain Alena Mikhaltsova will not feature for her side in their next eight starts, suspended for a nasty kick aimed at Evania Pelite in Saturday's women's Cup semi-final.


Mikhaltsova has the right to appeal the ban, which would put her out of the next World Series leg in Japan.

11:27am - Men's challenge trophy QF - France 21 Spain 7

Things are heating up at Allianz. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyFrance had plenty of ball in the first term but were forced to work particularly hard for their two tries, Steeve Barry and Jean Barraque the scorers.

Spain scored a serendipitous five pointer halfway through the second term but France clinched victory on the siren, subsequently advancing to a trophy semi-final.

11am - Men's challenge trophy QF - Russia 17 Scotland 12

The Scots gifted Dmitry Sukhin an early try before Sean Kennedy put his side back in front, squeezing through the Russian line.

Ilya Babaev returned serve for the Russians, Yury Gostyuzhev extending his their half time lead to 17-7 moments before the break.


Scotland hit back after the break through speedster Max McFarland but it was an error riddled second half from the Scots and that cost them progression in the Challenge half of the draw.

10:42am - Men's challenge trophy QF - Wales 24 PNG 5

Wales took control from the outset and scored two first half tries, Luke Morgan scoring his 100th try in the second term.

PNG then scored one of the tries of the tournament, a multi-pass, multi-phase movement which featured several trick passes before a fine finish from their star, William Tirang.


Lloyd Lewis then crossed for the Welsh, eradicating any hope of a PNG comeback.

10:22am - Men's challenge trophy QF - Samoa 14 Canada 7

Canada is the first casualty on day three, with Samoa edging the North Americans.

Tila Mealoi was the chief destroyer for the Samoans, with a try and two conversions.

That win means Samoa moves on to the Challenge Trophy semi-finals - they'll face the winner of the Papua New Guinea-Wales quarter-finals.

9:55am - Aussie fixtures

There's plenty at stake for the Aussies today, both in do-or-die finals.

The men play their Cup quarter-final against New Zealand at 12:12pm AEDT.

The women take on New Zealand at 2:37pm AEDT for the Cup title.

A reminder of the men's Cup quarter-finals fixtures for today as well:

11:28am AEDT - Fijii vs USA

11:50am AEDT - South Africa vs Kenya

12:12pm AEDT - Australia vs New Zealand

12:34pm AEDT - Argentina vs England

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