Australia were knocked out in the quarterfinals of the men’s sevens tournament by South Africa 22-5 in a dramatic day two at Deodoro Stadium.
Australia had very few attacking opportunities against the resurgent South African side which Australia had earlier beaten 12-5 in the final pool game. The Aussies couldn’t overcome the speed and strength of the Blitzboks who dominated them at the breakdown.
South Africa opened the scoring when they forced a turnover with some strong work at the ruck. Speedster Rosco Specman caught an inside ball out wide before racing through a gaping hole to score. South Africa looked dangerous with the ball in hand and needed only three phases to go the length of the field for their next try. Australia were outnumbered on the left wing when Seabolo Senatla scored in the corner to make it 10-0.
Australia got on the board shortly after when Tom Cusack provided brilliant support play following a run down the left edge by Allan Fa’alava’au to take the score to 10-5 at half-time. Australia struggled to get out of their own territory in the second half and after a poor kick into touch, South Africa’s Kyle Brown barged over from the line-out to make it 17-5. Australia needed to score twice in the final three minutes but knocked-on out wide, allowing Senatla to get his second try, ending any hope of a comeback.
New Zealand were knocked out of the tournament by gold medal favourites Fiji, 12-7. The Kiwis had just scraped into the knockout stage thanks to Fiji dispatching the USA in their final pool match. The Americans had to win, draw or lose by less than four to advance, but missed a conversion in the dying seconds, letting the Kiwis slip past them into the next round.
Great Britain and Argentina couldn’t be separated at the end of regulation time in their quarter-final. In the match of the day neither side could break through amid slippery conditions in a rare scoreless sevens match. Argentina had a chance to win with a penalty kick at the death but captain Gaston Revol pushed it to the right. The Brits advanced to the semi-finals after play-maker Dan Bibby dived over the line to score in extra time.
Japan, the surprise packet of the tournament, defeated France 12-7 when Teruya Goto scored the winning try on the buzzer. Japan will now play Fiji in the first semi-final and South Africa will take on Great Britain in the second semi-final. Coverage begins at 3.30am AEST on Friday. – Andrew Cullen
Photo of Henry Hutchison from Rugby.com.au Facebook page.