Australia to fight for Challenge Trophy at Canada Sevens

by Rugby Australia

The Qantas Australian Men’s Sevens squad will fight it out for the Challenge Trophy at the Canada Sevens after going down to New Zealand and France in a tough Pool C battle in Vancouver on Sunday. 

Australia started well with a win against a red-hot Spanish side, but the Aussie 7s were unable to capitalise on opportunities against France and was outclassed by New Zealand. 

Qantas Australian Men’s Sevens, Head Coach Tim Walsh said: “The entire team is bitterly disappointed with our performances today and we have to have some honest conversations. 

“We have shown that we can beat the best teams in the world and have the ability to play some high tempo Rugby, but let ourselves down with performances like what we did today. 

“Sevens rewards the adaptive, the resilient, the strong and the consistent teams. In any given match we are all of these things and then we can let parts of our game slide. 

“We are still firmly in the middle of that journey to building a top four team consistently and this side will continue to work hard at that goal. 

“Tomorrow we have to put the disappointment of today behind us and focus on the Challenge Trophy.” 

Australia will play Kenya at 3.52am AEDT in the Challenge Trophy semi-final, with the match to be broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS and Kayo.  

Australia 17 defeated Spain 12 

Spain shot out to an early lead against Australia with Carrion crossing the white line after a solid passage of play from Spain in the third minute to take a 0-7 lead. Australia toiled against a committed Spanish defence and were eventually able to get their reward when Nick Malouf crossed in the fifth minute to take the score to 5-7. 

The second half continued to be an arm wrestle for both sides as Spain pressured Australia in defence. Back to back tries for Simon Kennewell and a conversion from John Porch gave the Aussie 7s the lead, 17-7. Spain threw everything they had at the Aussie 7s and a late try lowered the gap but the men in gold had done enough to get their campaign off to a winning start. 

Australia 17 was defeated by France 21 

Australia started the match well, tackling France into submission after Les Blues held territory and possession in the opening exchanges. Australia stole possession through captain Lewis Holland, allowing Henry Hutchison to score in the corner and give the Aussies a 5-0 lead. France started to take control of possession and territory and Lewis Holland was brought from the field with for a HIA. The French eventually were rewarded for their toils with back to back tries just before half time, taking their lead to 5-14. 

The Aussie 7s started the second half well with Simon Kennewell scoring in the corner to lower the gap. France, continued to ask questions of Australia in defence, creating space out wide which allowed Les Blues to score and extend their lead to 10-21. A late try to Ben O’Donnell gave Australia hopes of stealing victory, but the Aussie 7s couldn’t secure the ball off the restart allowing France to take the match. 

Australia 12 was defeated by New Zealand 36  

It was winner takes all in the final pool match of Pool C, with the winner to progress to the quarter finals. New Zealand had all the ball for the opening exchanges, as Australia’s defence sat back, making New Zealand do all the work. The Aussies tracked well across field but eventually New Zealand crossed in the corner. Off the restart the All Black Sevens were able to regather and scored again to take a 0-12 lead. Australia couldn’t get any meaningful possession and a questionable steal at a breakdown allowed New Zealand captain Tim Mikkelson to score New Zealand’s third. 

The second half saw New Zealand continue to control the tempo of the game, Australia unable to get any good bounce of fortune their way, as the score advanced to 0-24. A strong run from Dylan Pietsch put Australia in a good territorial position, allowing the Aussie 7s to register their first points, 5-24. A blistering run from Rod Davies splintered New Zealand’s defence, with a high shot tackle on Davies reducing New Zealand to six men. Australia scored off the ensuring player to lessen the damage to 12-36.