Australian sevens men make Olympics after rocky ride
Australia’s rugby sevens men have booked their ticket to the Olympic Video games however solely after a dramatic afternoon at Twickenham described by their skipper as “one of many largest roller-coasters ever”.
Captain Nick Malouf’s workforce had shortly acquired knocked out by Fiji within the quarter-finals on Sunday morning as they sought to defend their season-ending London Sevens title.
But that was solely the prelude to a nerve-shredding afternoon as they then acquired concerned in a determined battle to nail down the ultimate automated place for Paris 2024.
With Samoa additionally battling for the coveted place, Australia blew two probabilities to seal the spot, first within the 19-5 defeat by Olympic champs Fiji within the last-eight after which once they had victory cruelly snatched away 22-19 by France on the demise within the fifth-place semi-final.
After Frenchman Paulin Riva had bagged the successful attempt as soon as Australia had been penalised for a penalty with 10 seconds left, their gamers seemed shattered, as if th ey felt their final probability should have gone.
However Samoa, who had been then lower than a few a minutes away from sealing their first-ever Olympic spot as they led Argentina 7-5 of their semi-final, had been pipped by a late attempt, dropping 10-5.
That gave the Australians one final probability to earn the Paris place if they may defeat hosts Nice Britain within the seventh-place playoff.
This time, Malouf and his men made no mistake, producing by far their finest efficiency of the weekend as they crushed the house aspect 34-5.
Star man Nathan Lawson, who completed with six tries over the entire weekend, went over for a decisive hat-trick whereas Maurice Longbottom and Matt Gonzalez additionally scored within the five-try demolition.
“At present was one of many largest roller-coasters ever,” beamed a relieved Malouf, the evergreen 30-year-old Queenslander who had scored two tries himself within the French defeat.
“Two losses to start out the day after which we simply acquired fortunate by some miracle and simply acquired that probability to play for it towards Nice Britain.
“However there’s been a lot arduous work going into this – we’ve by no means certified routinely earlier than for the Olympics – so it’s a very large deal for us, I’m so over the moon.
“We’re so grateful, lots of people observe us all all over the world, and we’re simply so proud we might placed on a efficiency and lock down that Olympic spot down. Now, we’ve acquired 12 months to make positive we’re proper in Paris.”
Whereas the Aussies celebrated, there was heartbreak for the Samoans, who will now need to undergo cut-throat Oceanian qualifying to get to Paris.
They’d have crushed Argentina if not for a ahead go which meant their second, absolutely match-winning rating was dominated out.
So as to add insult to damage, they then needed to watch Argentina go on and raise the title, beating Fiji 35-14 within the ultimate.
The Samoans’ comfort was to earn a come-from-behind 24-19 win over world collection champs New Zealand within the bronze-medal match.