Aussies eliminated from Hong Kong 7s

Mens - Hong Kong
by Sam Phillips and Beth Newman

The Aussie Men's Sevens Hong Kong 7s campaign is over, falling to France in the Challenge Trophy semi-finals.

A young Australian team, with eight debutants in this tournament, beat England to start the day but were no match for the French in the second half of their clash.

Here's how all the action panned out.

4:25pm - France 24 Australia 12

Australia's Hong Kong 7s campaign is all over, falling to France in the Challenge Trophy semi-finals.

Aussie debutant James Armstrong started the match in style with a sublime individual try, running 80 metres and shrugging three cover defenders in a determine run to the line.

Tahiti Veredamu returned serve for the French, brushing Sam Figg, Jeral Skelton and Goddard en route to the line.

A brilliant individual try from Dylan Pietsch's put the Aussies back in front two minutes before the break but once again France levelled, leaving the score locked at 12-all at the break.

Veredamu nabbed a double to draw first blood of the second half 

Samuel Alerte scored the sealer for the French, knocking the Aussies out of the tournament.

12:15 pm - England 14 Australia 17

Sam Figg has pulled off a miracle finish for the Aussie Men's Sevens, scoring in the final play of the game for the Aussies to beat England, 17-14.

Figg was one of the best all game, in his first Sevens tournament since 2016, pulling off critical turnovers, before finishing off the match-winner.

Both sides were missing their biggest names, with the Commonwealth Games just next week, and neither could quite string consistent phases together.

The Aussies had a scrappy start to the match and England made them pay, with Ryan Olowofela scoring in the third minute.

Jeral Skelton hit back almost immediately shaking off some English defenders to score his third try of the tournament.Con Foley and the Australians secured a thrilling win over England. Photo: HK7s MediaA Figg turnover gave Australia another chance to attack and Harrison Goddard finished off, to put Australia in the lead for the first time, and their desperate defence stopped England from evening things up.

England didn't make the same mistake twice, with Will Edwards scoring in the last play of the half, snatching back the advantage.

Dylan Pietsch coughed up the chance for an Aussie try in the ninth minute, dropping the ball in a clever England tackle, but the Aussies still had much of the momentum.

Neither side could clinch a second-half score and Tristan Reilly literally fell short of the line with a minute to go, after looking on track for a certain try, with a super break.

Henry Clunies-Ross proved the match maker, finding a break after the final siren, with Figg easily finishing it off.

The Aussies will take on France in the Challenge Trophy semi-final at 4:05pm AEST.

11am - Aussie men back in action.

Take a look behind the scenes as the Aussie men prepare for their Challenge Trophy quarter-final on the last day of the Hong Kong Sevens.


TEAM

Jeral Skelton, 3 caps, Brothers QLD 

Dylan Pietsch, 8 caps, Randwick NSW

Sam Croke, 1 cap, Randwick NSW

Brandon Quinn, 6 caps, Gordon NSW

James Armstrong*, Sydney University

Henry Clunies-Ross*, Sydney University

Nick Price*, Southern Districts

Con Foley (c), 42 caps, University of Queensland

Sam Figg, 6 caps, Randwick

Lachlan Miller*, South Cross University (Coffs Harbour)

Matthew McTaggart*, Easts

Triston Reilly*, Randwick

Harrison Goddard*, Randwick

Nicko Tuvitu*

FIXTURES

Sunday April 8

Australia vs England, 11:52am AEST