Former Leicester Tigers star leads Australia to Sevens heaven in LA
It is the first time the Australian Men’s team has ever won the World Rugby Sevens Series, since its inception in 1999.
Australia had previously finished second in 2001 and in third place in 2000 and 2010 but had never before taken top honours in the Series.
Former Leicester Tiger and now Australia captain Nick Malouf skippered the team as they became just the fifth country ever to win the series after New Zealand, South Africa, Fiji and Samoa.
It is double success for Australia as the men’s Series victory follows the women’s domination of the 2022 Series, which finished in Toulouse, France earlier this year.
After the championship-leading South African Blitzboks did not advance from the pool stage in Los Angeles, Australia needed a Bronze medal to snatch the title.
Following a disappointing loss to Fiji in the Semi-Final, the Aussies rebounded to defeat Samoa 21-7 in the Bronze medal match.
Malouf said: “I’m so proud and happy that we’ve made history. It’s a great day for Australian rugby. A huge squad performance from Dubai all the way through to here, this is the culmination of consistency and training hard every day.”
Australia head coach John Manenti said: “It is quite surreal to be honest. It has been an amazing six months or so with the boys, we have had our ups and downs, but these kids have fought hard and they deserve this and it is something that they will remember for ever.
“This season we wanted to be consistent from day one and we didn’t get there every tournament, but in general this overall victory is all about the consistency the boys have shown.”
Rugby Australia CEO Andy Marinos said the victory was proof of the outstanding work of the entire Aussie Sevens program.
“After the Tokyo Olympics, we all went through a comprehensive review, re-looked at the strategic priorities of the programs and made some adjustments across high-performance,” said Andy Marinos.
“The turnaround is testament to the hard work and effort that [coach] John Manenti and his coaching and support team have put into the program.
“The commitment shown by [captain] Nick Malouf and his players further reinforce this, and we have had seasoned Sevens, Super Rugby and Club Rugby players receive opportunities that they have embraced and maximised throughout the series.
“In just over 12 months since Tokyo, our Men and Women have now both claimed the World Rugby Sevens Series title – and our Women also took Gold at the Commonwealth Games.
“I see their commitment and energy, and the tireless work of the entire program every day.
“This, together with a greater alignment with the Wallabies and Wallaroos, has ensured our Teams in Gold are sharing information and players, and delivering on our objectives to be consistently strong across all Rugby formats.
“As an organisation, and as a Rugby community, we are immensely proud of John, Nick and the whole squad, and we look forward to celebrating with them when they return home.
“Before that, there is the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Cape Town in two weeks – and I am sure both the Men and Women will give another strong account of themselves.”
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