Aussie win World Series, as BlitzBoks choke
WRAP: Australia captured a first-ever World Sevens Series crown with a third-place finish at the season-ending Los Angeles tournament.
Australia defeated Samoa 21-7 in the third-place match to decide the title, as a nine-month fight came down to the final day – with Fiji, Argentina, South Africa and the Aussies in the hunt for the throne.
Going into the third-place match Australia knew that if they could win it, then they would have too big a points total for nearest rivals Fiji and South Africa and so it proved.
The Aussies took the breakthrough crown after a best prior finish of second to New Zealand in 2000-01.
Australia became only the fifth nation to claim the title since it was first awarded in 2000, following the Kiwis, Samoa, South Africa and Fiji.
In the final standings, Australia finished with 128 points, South Africa is on 124, Fiji is third with 122, Argentina is fourth with 118 and Ireland finish fifth with 92.
South Africa, who failed to reach the knockout rounds in LA, would have won the crown if Fiji and the Aussies had both lost.
Fiji had to beat Australia in the semis to keep alive their season title hopes and did so while New Zealand edged Samoa 28-26 in the other semifinal.
(Continue below …)
South Africa finish 13th to fall short
If you had said to many people at the start of the weekend that series-leading South Africa would be in the 13th place play-off match, then not a lot of them would have believed you.
However, the BlitzBoks choked in spectacular fashion.
In the 13th-place play-off match, South Africa won 26-0 to, at the time, keep their fast-fading series title hopes alive.
However, in the end it was not enough.
Shilton van Wyk, James Murphy, JC Pretorius and Ryan Oosthuizen scored South Africa’s tries with Branco du Preez (two) and Shaun Williams kicking conversions.
* Meanwhile Argentina’s hopes to claim the season crown ended when Samoa beat the South Americans 24-19 in extra time in the quarter-finals.
In other quarterfinals, Fiji ripped the United States 28-12 and New Zealand defeated Ireland 29-12.
“Quite surreal to be honest. I can’t believe we’re here,” Australia coach John Manenti said.
“The boys worked hard.
“We’ve had our ups and downs. But these kids fought hard and I’m so proud of them. I’m so happy for them. We’ve done something they will remember forever.”
* Meanwhile, New Zealand defeated Fiji 28-21 in the Los Angeles Final, giving the Kiwis their first tournament title of the season.
Fiji won in Singapore in April and in France in May, while South Africa won four times and the Aussies won their only tournament in London in May.
Under a special points system used this season due to COVID-19, each team’s total includes its best seven results from the campaign.
Needing no worse than a third-place result to claim the season title, Australia routed Kenya 40-14 in the quarterfinals but lost to Fiji 29-10 in the semifinal.
That set up the all-or-nothing consolation match, in which Samoan wing Owen Niue scored the first try.
Corey Toole and Henry Paterson answered with first-half tries for Australia and Dietrich Roache added another with 4:15 remaining to secure the historic title.
“We’re a bunch of misfits. We’re just having a crack,” Manenti said. “We’re working hard for each other. The boys love each other and that was a big base of it.
“We worked hard and our big goal was to be consistent from day one. This award is a reflction of the consistency the boys have shown. It has been a pretty amazing run.”
Had Australia lost the third-place match, Fiji could have taken the season crown by winning the LA final.
Who doesn’t want to see this team play 😍
— World Rugby Sevens (@WorldRugby7s) August 29, 2022
All the Day Two results
Cup Final: Final Fiji 21-28 New Zealand
Third-place play-off: Australia 21-7 Samoa
Australia 10-29 Fiji
Samoa 26-28 New Zealand
Australia 40-14 Kenya
Fiji 28-12 United States
Samoa 24-19 Argentina
New Zealand 29-14 Ireland
Fifth-place play-off: Kenya 7-29 Argentina
Ninth-place play-off: France 33-0 Scotland
Thirteenth-place play-off: Japan 0-26 South Africa
Fifth-place play-off semifinals
Kenya 21-14 United States
Argentina 28-21 Ireland
Ninth-place play-off semifinals
England 7-19 France
Scotland 19-7 Wales
Thirteenth-place play-off semifinals
Japan 26-19 Canada
Spain 12-29 South Africa
Ninth-place play-off quarterfinals
Japan 15-36 England
France 42-0 Canada
Scotland 28-7 Spain
South Africa 5-10 Wales
Source: AFP & @WorldRugby7s