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Australia’s ‘poor cousins’ men’s team charge into SVNS Perth semis

By Finn Morton
Maurice Longbottom of Australia runs the ball during the 2024 Perth SVNS men's match between USA and Australia at HBF Park on January 27, 2024 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

With a vibrant Australian crowd in their corner, the hosts’ men’s team charged into the SVNS Perth Cup semi-finals after overcoming the United States with a dominant performance.


Playing in the final game on Saturday night, the Aussies were met with a passionate cheer from fans and Men at Work’s ‘Down Under’ over the speakers as they ran out onto HBF Park.

This was their moment. After losing to Ireland earlier on day two, the Aussies had an opportunity to put their past behind them while giving their home fans something to smile about.

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The start of the match was tense. Both teams traded blows, but it was nothing too serious – almost waiting for their chance to strike a big blow. Enter Nick Malouf.

Australia’s captain Malouf opened the scoring in the fifth minute, and a quick double from Nathan Lawson saw the men in gold race out to a commanding advantage.

Unfortunately for young gun Henry Palmer, there are no style points – but the Aussie deserves plenty of praise for a speculator finish along the left touchline in the ninth minute.

Another try to Ben Dowling completed the rout as the hometown favourites celebrated the news that day three had sold out with a convincing 31-7 win.


Australia claimed some payback against the Eagles Sevens who had beaten the hosts during pool play.

“I suppose we’re always trying to learn and improve and we’ve been disappointed with some of our highs and lows over the weekend,” head coach John Manenti told reporters.

“We sort of went back to the drawing board with some simplicity before that game and had a bit of a heart-to-heart.


“I knew we’d work so hard to get to that sort of performance. We’re really clinical and sharp because that’s what we’ve been doing at training.


“I’m really happy for the boys that they’ve got to express that in a pressure match against somebody that beat us 24 hours ago.”

Those lucky enough to secure tickets to the final day of play will be able to watch both of Australia’s sevens sides go to rugby battle in their semi-finals.

With the big prize of winning a tournament on home soil just two wins away, both teams will believe they can go the distance – but world-class opponents stand in their way.

The men’s side will play Fiji in the second semi-final at 1:34 pm local time, while the women set to test themselves against the United States at 12:46 pm.

Many fans expected the women’s side to get this far, and while that might make the men’s side the “poor cousins” out of the two, the coach is looking ahead to a big day for Australian rugby on Sunday.

“We’re the poor cousins sort of thing and we battle away,” Manenti said. “But the boys are entitled to be really proud of their performance.

“It’s awesome that Perth has got behind it. It was rocking, even out the back today… there was people having a great time.

“Sevens is a great vibe and hopefully it’s an introduction for a lot of people who are in Perth for the first time.

“Perfect sized venue for it… (there would be) nothing better than having two Aussie teams playing in the last couple of games tomorrow night.”


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1 Comment
Rodrigo 167 days ago

Beware of the big cats on the loose in Perth...they are in good shape and still hungry.
Vamos Pumas!!!

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