LA Sevens; Aussies finish fourth, South Africa claim thrilling Cup final

Mens - Los Angeles
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Australia has finished fourth in the LA Sevens while South Africa claimed the title after a thrilling extra-time final.

After convincingly topping their pool on day one, Australia looked dangerous on day two as well with a comprehensive 36-0 quarter-final win over Ireland.

A defeat to a near-unstoppable Fiji side in their semi-final ended their hopes of a cup title and set them up against New Zealand in the bronze medal match.

Australian men's coach Tim Walsh said he felt the team had taken a step forward in Los Angeles and would be looking to continue that in Vancouver next weekend.

"This tournament has highlighted that the team has the ability to perform at the top level and under pressure," he said.

“We had a great performance on day one and carried that momentum into day two against Ireland, however, were unable to break through a strong Fijian defence and found ourselves in a highly competitive match against New Zealand playing off for third. 

“Lachlan Miller had an outstanding weekend in the gold jersey, the way he continued to find space and his support play was second to none while Nick Malouf continued to lead from the front, especially in that final game against New Zealand.

“There has been a lot of progress here, and we want to carry on our work into Vancouver.”

The trans-Tasman rivals went toe-to-toe in their playoff but it was the Kiwis who ultimately clung on for the medal.

South Africa and Fiji met in the decider and it initially looked as though Fiji would romp home after jumping out of the blocks.

The Blitzboks clawed their way back into the contest to even things up at full-time.and Sakoyisa Makata's extra-time try proved the ultimate winner.

The World Series moves onto Vancouver next week as the Aussies look to prove they can string strong tournaments together.

FINALS RESULTS

Cup final

South Africa 29- Fiji 24

Bronze medal final

Australia 19 - New Zealand 21

Fifth place playoff

Ireland 19 -USA 24

Ninth place playoff

Argentina 21 - Canada 19

Thirteenth place playoff

Kenya 24 - Scotland 29

WORLD SERIES STANDINGS

1. New Zealand - 93

2. South Africa - 89

3. Fiji - 72

4. France - 67

5. England - 64

6. Australia - 62

7. USA - 60

8. Argentina - 53

9. Ireland - 45

10. Canada - 40

11. Kenya - 29

12. Scotland - 29

13. Samoa - 28

14. Spain - 23

15. Wales - 11

 

11:17am - BRONZE MEDAL - AUSTRALIA vs New Zealand

Australia has narrowly missed out on a medal in LA, losing their bronze medal playoff against New Zealand19-17.

After conceding scores early in each half, Australia showed their resilience to hit back on both occasions.

They had a chance to snatch the winning score in the final minute but a last-gasp turnover meant their time ran out.

Etene Nanai-Seturo broke open the Australian defence for his first try, slipping through three Aussie defenders to score.

Tone ng Shiu wriggled his way out of the Australians’ grasps in the fourth minute to set up Akuila Rokolisoa for New Zealand’s second try of the match.

Henry Hutchison broke into space and looked on his way to scoring before being dragged down.

Kiwi Caleb Clarke was penalised and yellow-carded for infringing, giving Australia a one-man advantage.

Australia made the most of that advantage, levelling things up with two tries in two minutes.

Lachie Miller was the one bto break Australia’s duck just shy of half-time and a fresh Maurice Longbottom pounced on a loose ball deep in attack to level things up at the break.

Kiwi veteran Tim Mikkelson added to his side’s score quickly in the second half, pouncing on a yellow card to Miller, finishing an attacking chain generated by a Ng Shiu offload.

Australian skipper Nick Malouf took matters into his own hands, running close to 80 metres to burn Ngarohi McGarvey-Black and score their third.

Australia held possession in the final minute, trailing by two points, but a turnover with eight seconds to go ended

 

RESULT

Australia 19

Tries: Miller, Longbottom, Malouf

Cons: Holland 2

New Zealand 21

Tries: Nanai-Seturo, Ng Shiu

Cons: Knewshubb, Rokolisoa, McGarvey-Black

 

8:49am - CUP SF - AUSTRALIA vs FIJI

Australia's hopes of a Cup title in LA have been ended in a 43-7 rout at the hands of Fiji.

The Aussies have been one of the strongest teams across the LA Sevens weekend but Fiji were at their electric best in a semi-final that became one-way traffic.

Australia had the first try of the match but conceded the next 43 points in a run that they simply had no answers for.

The Aussies had an early advantage after Fiji's Derenaladi was slapped with a yellow card and they made the most of that.

Trae Williams finished off a rapid fire passing chain to open the scoring for Australia.

Fiji forced an Australian error off the restart and they worked their way through the Australian line for Aminiasi Tuimaba to score.

A spectacular no-look, behind the back pass from Sevuloni Mocenacagi put Jerry Tuwai over for Fiji's second.

Fiji found time for one more first half try, pouncing on an Australian lineout overthrow and hot stepping the Australian defensive line.

It was Vilimoni Botitu who claimed the eventual score, and the Aussies found themselves in a 12-point hole at the break.

Fiji scored less than a minute after half-time with some slick counterattack giving Botitu his second and the chances of a Cup final began to slip away for Australia.

Asaeli Ratuvoka and Livai Ikaikoda joined the party in the dying stages of the second half, romping home to a 36-point win.

Australia will feature in the bronze medal match at 10:55am, against the loser of the New Zealand-South Africa semi-final.

RESULT

Australia 7

Tries: Williams

Cons: Holland

Fiji

Tries: Botitu 2, Tuimaba 2, Ratuvoka, Tuwai, Ikanikoda

Cons: Bolaca 3, Nacuqu

Yellow Cards: Derenalagi

5:30am - CUP QF - AUSTRALIA vs IRELAND

Australia's men are through to the LA Sevens Cup semi-finals after cruising to a 36-o quarter-final win over Ireland.

After a string of tournaments that finished in disappointment, the quarter-final loomed as the most critical for Australia and they delivered with a comprehensive shutout.

The opening kick-off fell short of the 10-metre mark, opening the door for Ireland but the Irish made their own mistake to return possession to the Aussies.

Maurice Longbottom found the first try for Australia in the third minute, darting through a gap in the Irish defence to score.

Longbottom generated the second score, quickly getting the ball moving after Australia won a breakdown penalty, and it was Lewis Holland who finished the attacking chain.

The playmaker was over immediately off the next restart as Australia began to really open up some breathing space.

Longbottom began the second half as he had spent the first, scoring a try after slipping between two Irish defenders.

A clever kick in behind from Holland set up an enthralling foot race for Rod Davies.

Though the speedster couldn't quite finish, a smart pick up from Lachie Miller put Joe Pincus over to ice the game.

Debutant Angus Bell had the final say of the game with his first career try.

Australia will play Fiji for a spot in the final at 8:23am AEDT.

RESULT

Australia 36

Tries: Longbottom 2, Holland 2, Pincus, Bell

Cons: Holland 3

Ireland 0

SQUAD

Aussie Men's Sevens for Los Angeles Sevens

Henry Hutchison, Randwick, 30 caps

Dylan Pietsch, Randwick, 16 caps

Rod Davies, 3 caps

Lewis Holland (vc), Queanbeyan, 51 caps

Lachlan Miller, Randwick, 10 caps

Joe Pincus, Easts (Sydney), 10 caps

Josh Turner, Manly, 4 caps

Stu Dunbar*, Sydney University

Trae Williams, 3 caps

Nick Malouf (c), University of Queensland, 38 caps

Maurice Longbottom, Lloyd McDermott Rugby Development Team, 18 caps

Lachlan Anderson (vc), Eastwood, 25 caps 

Angus Bell*, Sydney University 

*Denotes uncapped