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Great Britain qualify for SVNS Grand Final but not without drama

By Finn Morton
Will Homer #12 of Great Britain celebrates with Charlton Kerr #24 after scoring a try against France in the men's cup quarterfinal match during day two of the HSBC SVNS Singapore at the National Stadium on May 04, 2024 in Singapore. (Photo by Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images)

Great Britain are the eighth and final men’s team to secure their spot in the SVNS Series’ upcoming Grand Final in Madrid after beating Australia 26-7 in Singapore on Sunday evening.

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After missing out on the Cup final in quite heartbreaking circumstances, Great Britain still had one more chance to qualify for the top eight and retain core Series status for next season.

The British approached their final match-up at Singapore’s National Stadium as if it were a “must-win” clash, and that’s because it was. After seven events, it all came down to this.

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If GB wanted to remain in the race for the overall Series title at the home of Spanish football giants Atletico Madrid later this month they would have to beat a depleted Aussie outfit.

“Just because we don’t get together maybe as much as other teams, we’re not a team that makes excuses for performances if we don’t hit the mark,” Charlton Kerr told RugbyPass after Great Britain’s loss to Ireland on Sunday afternoon.

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“I think every game is the same focus for us now – every game is a must-win for us. I think we’ve had that opportunity from the start of the season to when I joined as well midway through the season.

“We haven’t been getting it right all the time at set-piece, bits of detail, but you’re not going to get it right all the time. The attitude and effort is always there for us and that’s what we say when we get back into the change room.

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“The attitude and effort is a non-negotiable for us and as long as we keep sticking to that the set-piece and the technical bits will come.”

Max McFarland got the party started for GB with a try in the fourth minute, and other five-pointers to Robbie Fergusson and Will Homer set the Brits on the path towards a decisive result.

Playmaker Kaleem Barreto added another try to Great Britain’s score late in the contest as they ran away for a ruthless 26-nil win. Their season had come down to that moment but they shone.

But, it must be said, it could’ve been very different for Great Britain in Singapore. Playing against Ireland in a blockbuster semi-final, GB had a chance to snatch victory with a try at the death.

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The British spread the ball wide for Charlton Kerr, but a difficult pass saw the Englishman juggle the ball in the in-goal area before eventually dropping the chance to beat the fighting Irish.

Ireland ended up getting the job done in golden point with replacement Billy Dardis nailing a routine penalty attempt in the 16th minute to send the men in green to the Singapore Cup final.

“Games like that semi-finals, they don’t come around a lot for many teams so obviously your emotions are gonna be in it right there and then,” Kerr explained.

“But even if the emotions boiled over there at the end, I think in the match we had good composure. I think we stuck to the game plan… (against) an Ireland that’s been playing some of the best rugby in the world throughout the season.

“It’s a credit to us. I think for a moment there in the corner where the ball hangs in the balance like that and is bobbling and you think you’re going to bring it in and put it down. Those are the moments that everyone pays (for) the tickets to come to the tournament.

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“Obviously we want to be on the right side of that but it’s those moments (which are) why we play the game. Good or bad we’re in it for the long haul.

“Fix up, big third-place coming up so just refocus really – park it and refocus.”

But that’s all in the past now after beating Australia. Great Britain will compete with another seven top men’s teams while the USA have been knocked back into the play-off tournament.

Catch up on all the latest SVNS Series action from the 2023/24 season on RugbyPass TV. SVNS Singapore is live and free to watch, all you need to do is sign up HERE.

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Comments

1 Comment
J
John 68 days ago

The GB coach. “Just because we don’t get together as much as other teams we don’t use that as an excuse for performances when we don’t hit the mark”. Why mention it at all then?

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