Aussie 7s go down to Fiji and New Zealand in Hong Kong

· Mens - Hong Kong
by Rugby Australia

The Aussie 7s have been unable to progress to the quarter finals with defeats to Fiji and New Zealand preventing Australia from advancing in Hong Kong. Australia fought hard in both matches but were unable to force the issue against two top four sides.

Australia finished on a winning note, defeating Kenya in their final pool match. Australia will meet Portugal at 11.52am AEDT in the battle to secure crucial series points in Hong Kong on Sunday. 

Qantas Australian Men’s Sevens Head Coach Tim Walsh said: "We’re obviously very disappointed we didn’t progress to the top eight competition."Win, lose or draw our focus is on what we can do better in order to produce better outcomes.

"We certainly have a few to choose from after today but our optimism and belief remains strong. Tomorrow is a work day and we are looking forward to the responsibility we have when we represent our country." 

Australia 19 was defeated by New Zealand 40 

A moment’s silence was held, with both teams locking arms to show solidarity for the victims of Christchurch as a mark of respect before play commenced. In the match New Zealand were the first to strike scoring in the opening minute through Joe Ravouvou who powered his way through the line to score. The Kiwis went through again in the fourth minute and looked like set to extend their lead. Australia fought back with back to back tries to Nick Malouf and Maurice Longbottom in his first match back from injury to level the scores at 14-14. Deep into extra time in the first half with neither team willing to give up it was New Zealand who was able to score against the run of the play and take the lead at the break. 

New Zealand put the pressure on Australia in the opening exchanges of the second half, with the Aussie 7s defence working hard. Tries to Dickson, Nareki and Webber ensured New Zealand would take the victory. A late try from workhorse Dylan Pietsch lowered the gap to 19-40. 

Australia 12 was defeated by Fiji 31 

The Olympic gold medallists shot out to an early lead, scoring in the opening minute to make a statement on the match. Australia struck back soon after through Ben O’Donnell who caught the ball off a bounce pass to outpace the defence to score and take the score to 5-7. Fiji’s scored twice before the conclusion of the first half through Tuwai and Tuimaba to ensure that the Fijians lead 17-5 at the break. 

The second half saw Fiji continue to build on their first half momentum with a try down the blind side to Jerry Tuwai extend the lead. Maurice Longbottom was sent to the sin bin for a high shot in the cover tackle that reduced Australia to six men. Fiji again applied pressure on the Aussie 7s who were unable to hold back Fiji allowing Botitu to score underneath the posts. A last ditch try to Dylan Pietsch was a consolation for Australia but wasn’t enough to halt Fiji who won their 27th straight match at Hong Kong.     

Australia 28 defeated Kenya 12

Australia started their third pool match strong with enforcer Jeral Skelton earning a turnover shortly after the kick-off allowing Maurice Longbottom to quickly cross the line securing Australia’s first points for the match.  A quick restart from captain Lewis Holland saw the men in gold again regain the ball, with it ending up in the arms of speedster henry Hutchison, who extended the Australians Lead over the Kenyan outfit 14-0. However, it was Lachie Miller who would have the last say breaking the Kenyan defensive line to claim his first 2019 World Series try. Holland successful converted the points sealing the Australians lead 21-0 at halftime.

The second half saw the Australians on the defensive with the Kenyan side drawing first blood at the hands of Bush Mwale breaking the Australian defence to score under the posts. However, a quick restart saw Hutchinson, finding a gap in the strong Kenyan backline saw him bolt the length of the field for his second try of the match. Kenya retaliated throwing everything they had at the Australian defensive, and while a try-saving intercept from Dylan Pietsch saw the Kenya outfit pack down a scrum 5m out from the Australian line, the pressure was too much with their captain Oluoch diving over the line to finalise the score at 28-12.