The Qantas Australian Men’s Sevens team will play in the quarter finals at the HSBC Hamilton Sevens on Sunday after finishing in second in Pool A.
Australia started strongly defeating Argentina and Wales but was unable to defeat the flying Fijians in the final pool match of the day.
The Aussie 7s will meet tournament hosts New Zealand in the quarter final at 10.20am AEDT on Sunday to fight for a place in the Cup semi-finals.
Qantas Australian Men’s Sevens Head Coach Tim Walsh said: “We played well in the first two matches to defeat Argentina and Wales and showed some big improvements across the two games.
“Against Fiji there was some strong positives, including the best restarts we have had against Fiji for a long time but ultimately we weren’t good enough to get the win.
“We are driving a no excuses policy in this team, so we will take account for our mistakes and get ready for day two.
“Nothing is won on day one of a Sevens tournament, so we will rest and recover and get ready for the quarter finals tomorrow.”
All matches will be broadcast live and exclusive on FOX SPORTS.
Australia 17 defeated Argentina 12
Australia opened their account on Australia Day with a try to Ben O’Donnell who was brought to ground and not held, allowing the Aussie flier to bounce back up and score. Argentina countered with a try of their own with a well worked kick in and behind Australia’s defence levelling the scores at 5-5. Australia scored their second try with again O’Donnell creating the opportunity, goose steeping his way through the defence to step up Henry Hutchison in the corner to re-take the lead.
The second half saw Australia strike first with Captain Lewis Holland barnstorming through the defence to extend the men in gold’s lead to 17-5. Los Pumas Sevens side refused to die wondering, scoring with just over a minute left to play, narrowing the gap to 17-12. Argentina held possession for the final stages of the match, until a well-executed steal at the breakdown giving the Aussie 7s a winning start in Hamilton.
Australia 26 defeated Wales 5
Wales held the ball and the momentum for the opening exchanges in the match, but a loose carry allowed young debutant, Josh Coward to put Ben O’Donnell in space for Australia to strike first and take a 7-0 lead. Two quick tries to Lachlan Anderson and Jeral Skelton (scoring his first World Series try) created more headaches for Wales as the Aussie7s extended their lead. Another late try to Josh Coward gave Australia a 26-0 lead at the break.
The second half saw a Welsh try in the corner give the Dragons their first points of the match but it would be the only time the scorers were troubled with the match finishing 26-5 in favour of Australia.
Australia 19 was defeated by Fiji 26
The flying Fijians shot out to an early lead with back to back tries that put the Aussie 7s under pressure, trailing 0-12 in the opening exchanges of the final pool game. Quick thinking from Henry Hutchison off a penalty turned the Fijian defence around allowing a barnstorming Lachlan Anderson to sprint to the line untouched and narrow the gap to 7-12. The counter attacking expertise of Fiji showed again with the Island nation scoring a third try just before the break to take the score to 7-19. Australia held onto the ball as the clock moved into referee time, with Maurice Longbottom finding the gap in Fiji’s defence to run away to score and lower the gap to 14-19.
The second half saw a fired-up Aussie 7s take Fiji on physically as the men in gold fought hard to regain the lead. Lewis Holland drove hard to dive over for a try in the corner to level the scores at 19-19. Fiji struck back with a well worked try that spread Australia’s defence too thin, re-taking the lead at 19-26. A late surge by the Aussie 7s put pressure on Fiji, but it wasn’t enough with the men in gold falling and progressing to the Quarter Finals in second position in the Pool.