Aussie men break title drought in Sydney

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Australia has won its first Cup final in six years, beating South Africa 29-0 in Sydney, to give the home crowd a double title to celebrate.

The Aussie men last won a title in 2012 in Tokyo, and have made just three Cup finals in the past two seasons, but this was a game where everything appeared to conspire in the home side's favour.

Defence has been the cornerstone for the Aussie men all weekend and they showed early in the final that wasn't going to change any time soon, desperately lunging at the Blitzboks.

Handling errors cost the Aussies as they tried to breach the South African defence but they continued to heap on the pressure, until a penalty gifted South Africa a chance.

The Aussie Sevens have won the Sydney 7s. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyIt looked like Rosko Specman had the first points but it was a disallowed try, with the South African star derailed by Lachie Anderson and a TMO review determined he was in touch.

Finally, the weight of possession drew blood for Australia, with Lewis Holland just escaping the Blitzboks' grasp and scoring the first try just before half-time.

And when it seemed the break would come, Australia gathered the kick-off and James Stannard ran into space and over the line, sparking up the Australian crowd, who had waited a long time to see a finish like this.

South Africa came out firing in the second but it was the Aussies again who struck first, with a Stannard grubber just inside touch popping up perfectly for John Porch, and when Aussies thought it couldn't get any better, Ben O'Donnell was over and the Aussies could taste victory.

When O'Donnell earned his double by burning Seabelo Senatla on the edge, the result was sealed, with the Blitzboks unable to score a point.

Tim Anstee gives a thumbs up to the crowd. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyAustralia came into the World Series off some preseason wins, but it's winning a World Series that will give the side some crucial credibility.

"Preseason we had those wins and we kept our feet on the ground and said, 'listen, it's not a world series,' but at the same time winning breeds winning," he said.

"So for them to now turn up and to do that on a World Series and in the process to knock off New Zealand and South Africa in the same tournament must give them belief and I know it has given them belief."

Youngster Tim Anstee, who has made a happy hunting ground out of Sydney, said he hoped the win would be the start of something big for the side.

"We noted Sydey as one of those tournaments we wanted to win at the start of the season, so to tick that one off already that's huge and hopefully we can keep that momentum going into Commonwealth Games, the World Cup and the rest of the world series."

Their win follows that of the Aussie women earlier in the day, completing a double few would have predicted before this year's tournament.

RESULTS

Australia 29

Tries: O'Donnell 2, Holland, Stannard, Porch, 

Cons: Stannard 2

South Africa 0