The Qantas Australian Men’s Sevens produced a stunning fightback at the HSBC Sydney 7s to book a Cup Quarter-Final against Fiji tomorrow (Sunday) at Spotless Stadium.
It seemed their aspirations of going back-to-back in Sydney were all but over after a shock defeat to Argentina but a remarkable try in their final game of the day secured a memorable finals berth.
The equation was simple but the task near impossible as Australia faced the prospect of having to beat HSBC Sevens World Series heavyweights South Africa by six points or more in their last game of the Pool stage.
Needing a six point win to keep their Cup hopes alive, Australia were on the front foot early and Jeral Skelton skipped his way through the South African defence to make the score 5-nil. Lewis Holland kept the pressure on as the skipper broke his way through several would-be tacklers to push the margin out to 12 points. The captain had a double soon after as Holland dived over in the corner for a 17-nil lead but South Africa struck back through Justin Geduld to bring the margin back to 10 points on the half-time siren.
Australia left it to the very last play of the game with former Leicester Tiger Nick Malouf stepping away from the South African defence to run 60 metres to score, much to the jubilation of the Spotless Stadium crowd.
The defending Sydney 7s champions will now play the defending Olympic Gold Medallists, Fiji, in Sunday afternoon’s Cup Quarter-Final.
Qantas Australian Men’s Sevens coach Tim Walsh said: “We knew we had to win by six (points) so it was a real moment to embrace and own, and fair play, they (players) came up with the goods. It was an emotional roller coaster but finally it was a good one.
“The boys put in the effort and they worked hard. We got our opportunity and we took it and we’re into tomorrow now which was the first step. Now we have to repeat the way we played today for three games tomorrow.
“Fiji are an amazing attacking team. They will score tries so it’s how you respect the ball when you hold onto it. Defensively you can shut them down but it’s easier said than done,” Walsh said.
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