Australian Seven’s fall in Trans-Tasman Trials

Sun, 23/05/2021, 10:30 pm
AAP -  Ben McKay
by AAP - Ben McKay
It's the battle of the champs in Brisbane.

The Australian men's and women's rugby sevens teams have suffered heavy series defeats to New Zealand in a warm-up event for the Tokyo Olympics.

Played over three days in Auckland, the tournament gave the Australian sides the opportunity to test their systems ahead of their final Olympic trial, the Oceania 7s.

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Australia were swept in the men's series 6-0 after New Zealand secured 36-5 and 31-14 victories on Sunday. While the women's series saw Australia win one of the six matches.

The tournament's format was played under a schedule template that will be similar to the Tokyo Games in July.

Backing up after a pulsating late match at Eden Park on Saturday night when the Kiwis came back from 19-0 down to steal a 26-19 victory in the final minute, New Zealand went straight to work in the final game.

With both sides fielding their best teams in their first international fixtures since the Vancouver Sevens in March, 2020, Nick Chapman started an Australian rally and the scores were level at halftime, 14-14.

The All Blacks sevens started the second half like the first, re-establishing their lead when Andrew Knewstubb scored their third try.

New Zealand went further in front when Vilimoni Koroi strolled in as three days of competition started to take its toll on the Australians.

The Australian women fared only marginally better despite opening the series with a 19-15 win on Friday.

They lost the next five matches, culminating in 33-12 and 24-12 defeats on Sunday for a 5-1 series scoreline.

Australian Women's Head Coach, John Manenti said: “It was great to be back playing and though it was far from perfect, it gives us a much better of our key work ons for the next few weeks”

“For periods in every game we dominated, we just have to do it for longer.

“Discipline hurt us, unforced errors hurt us but they’re not hard things to fix & with another block of games only a few weeks away we get another chance to test ourselves," Manenti said.

Men's coach, Tim Walsh echoed Manenti's sentiments: "The team always enjoys playing New Zealand, and to get the opportunity to come over here and play was invaluable.

“The tournament was incredibly well run, as a team we got a lot out of it, from what the players learnt to how we get back into the rhythm of game day.

“The nature of sevens is that it’s a game of tight moments, these moments make the difference between a win and a loss and we will use the lessons from these fixtures to continue to work on winning the moments."

The Australian women beat New Zealand to take the gold medal when sevens was first contested at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

But they found it tough going against their trans-Tasman neighbours at the weekend.

Black Ferns comeback winger Portia Woodman secured a hat-trick in Sunday's first game after Australia took an early 7-0 lead.

Woodman also crossed in the sixth game as part of a four-tries-to two victory.


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Australian Men’s Sevens Results, Auckland

Day 1

New Zealand 14 defeated Australia 5

Australia 21 defeated by New Zealand 26

Day 2

New Zealand 24 defeated Australia 12

Australia 19 defeated by New Zealand 26

Day 3

New Zealand 36 defeated Australia 5

Australia 21 defeated by New Zealand 26

Australian Women’s Sevens Results, Auckland

Day 1

New Zealand 19 defeated Australia 0

Australia 19 defeated New Zealand 15

Day 2

New Zealand 26 defeated Australia 19

Australia 12 defeated by New Zealand 14

Day 3

New Zealand 33 defeated Australia 12

Australia 12 defeated by New Zealand 19

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Aussie Sevens coach John Manenti is looking for his side to back up their Dubai triumphs. Photo credit: Mike Lee - KLC fotos for World Rugby
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