Aussies finish second in Singapore

Mens - Singapore
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by Beth Newman

Australia's men finished second in Singapore, but it took until after the full-time siren for the title to be secured.

10:45pm - Fiji back on top of World Series standings

Singapore was Fiji's fourth World Series cup win in the 2017-18 season, putting them back on top of the series standings, with two legs to go.

Australia also moved back into fourth in the series, rebounding from an 11th-place finish in Hong Kong that saw them drop out of the top four.

The top 10 after Hong Kong are:

1. Fiji - 145

2. South Africa - 141

3. New Zealand - 120

4. Australia - 108

5. USA - 93

6.Kenya 93

7. Argentina- 92

8. England - 88

9. Samoa - 55

10. Scotland - 51

In more positive news for the Aussies, Ben O'Donnell finished on top of the tournament's performance tracker, after another sensational outing in his rookie Sevens season, putting him right in the reckoning for rookie of the year.

10:25pm - Cup final - Fiji 28 - Australia 22

Australia has lost a heartbreaking Singapore Sevens final, going down to Fiji 28-22, after full-time.

The Aussies trailed for the entire match, until a freakish John Porch try put them one point up with one minute to go.

Fiji had the final say though, with a 90-metre try from Alosio Sovita Naduva snatching victory for the Islanders, one minute after full-time.

The Fijians had the early possession, but Australia’s trademark defence kept the pressure on the World Series heavyweights, before Waisea Nacuqu found what was ultimately an inevitable score in the third minute, just slipping through Australia’s wall.

Australia was punished by a pass that went to ground and before anyone could clean up, Nacuqu had picked it up and scored his second, opening up an early gap for Fiji.

Ben O’Donnell found a break for Australia and though he got caught short of the line, a swift cleanout from Tom Connor and a quick pass to 13th man Dylan Pietsch, gave the latter Australia’s first.

It was a thrilling final in Singapore. Photo: Getty ImagesFiji’s Eroni Sau was handed a yellow card after that score, for a late tackle on Connor, giving Australia the best opportunity yet, and they immediately pounced through Maurice Longbottom, narrowing the gap to four points at the break.

Australia held the ball for the first two minutes of the second half, but just one misstep in the form of an inaccurate pass gave Jerry Tuwai the chance to open up the gap once more.

Both sides threw everything into their defence, with a Locky MIller tackle keeping Australia in the game with three minutes.

A Brandon Quinn try made the equation just one score for Australia with 90 seconds to go, and when Porch put down a freakish try it looked like the miracle was on.

The Aussies looked like scoring another just shy of the whistle, but a knock on was called in the lead-up, giving Fiji one last chance to attack, and Naduva finished off.

England took out the bronze medal, beating South Africa in the third-place playoff earlier.


Singapore Sevens Cup final 

Fiji 28 - Australia 22

Third-place playoff

South Africa 24 - England 26

Fifth-place playoff

New Zealand 36 -  Samoa17

Challenge Trophy final

Canada 12 - USA 26

9:58pm - Parahi out of Cup final

Jesse Parahi was ruled out of the Singapore Sevens final. Photo: Getty ImagesJohn Porch will lead the Aussies out in the Cup final against Fiji, with Jesse Parahi ruled out of the match.

Parahi was forced off with a leg injury in the Aussies' semi-final win over England and won't feature in the decider.

He is the third Aussie Sevens captain to go down in recent weeks, with usual skipper Lewis Holland injuring his hamstring before the Commonwealth Games and his replacement James Stannard the victim of a one-punch attack.

The 28-year-old looked to have shaken off an injury-riddled period earlier this year, when he made his comeback in Sydney, but it appears bad fortune has struck the Aussie workhorse again.

7:37pm - Cup semi-final - Australia 15 - England 7

Australia’s men are through to the Singapore Sevens Cup final against Fiji, after a 15-7 win over England.

In a physical encounter, it was courageous Aussie skipper Jesse Parahi who found the line first, finishing off a slick chain of passes in the first minute to score.

England outpaced the Aussie defence, with skipper Tom Mitchell breaking through to even up the scores in the fifth minute.

Australia had the last chance of the half, but a fumble in open play kept scores all square at the break.

The Aussies had the first crack in the second half but they struggled to break through England’s aggressive defence.

Their task was made all the more difficult when Parahi was forced off with a leg injury, unable to stand up on the sideline.

Australia’s resilience showed through after that setback, with Dylan Pietsch slipping through for the first score of the second half, with three minutes to go.

 A yellow card for England put Australia in the box seat in the final minute, and John Porch slotted a rare penalty to put the Aussies eight points up, and seal the match.

They will be sweating on possible injuries to Parahi and speedster Maurice Longbottom, who appeared to pull up sore midway through the second half.

The decider will be Australia’s second of the season, after winning the Sydney Sevens in January.

The Aussie men will take on Fiji in the Cup final  at 10pm AEST.

3:36pm - Cup quarter-final - Australia 7 - Spain 5

A John Porch conversion has propelled Australia into the Singapore Cup semi-finals, in a 7-5 win over Spain.

Porch led the side out, with Jesse Parahi becoming the third Aussie Sevens captain in the past month to suffer an injury, hurting his shoulder on day one.

Spain dominated possession in the opening minute and broke through the Aussie defence to score in the second and put Australia on the back foot.

After some tight tussles in the breakdown, Australia managed to find space and Ben O’Donnell finished in the left hand corner.

It was Porch’s conversion of that try that proved the ultimate difference, in a grinding affair, where neither side could produce a second-half score.

Tom Connor was industrious in defence, clinching some pivotal turnovers and stopping Spanish momentum.

Neither side was able to create a serious opportunity after half-time, with Australia’s Maurice Longbottom looking dangerous but unable to create a score in the face of the Spanish defence.

Locky Miller found a break down the right edge, before being pushed into touch by the Spaniards.

Spain looked like they were on the way to the winning try with just a minute to go, but Spain dropped it cold on the attack, giving Australia a scrum feed.

The Aussies will play the winner of England and Samoa in their Cup semi-final at 7:12pm AEST.

Here are the other quarter-final results.


Fiji 24 - New Zealand 19

South Africa 24 - Kenya 12

Australia 7 - Spain 5

England 12 - Samoa 5


Cup semi-finals

6:50pm - Fiji vs South Africa

7:12pm - Australia vs England

2:30pm - Cup quarter-finals

Australia, South Africa and Fiji all wen through pool play undefeated, leaving the quarter-finals lineup as follows:

Fiji 24 - New Zealand 19

South Africa 24 - Kenya 12

Australia 7 - Spain 5

England 12 - Samoa 5