The Qantas Australian Men’s Sevens team has put a disappointing day one behind them to win three from three matches on day two of the Canada Sevens, winning the Challenge Trophy.
Australia defeated Kenya (47-7), Wales (33-22) and tournament hosts Canada (35-21) to finish the sixth leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series with a wet sail.
Australia has held onto sixth position with 65 points on the HSBC Sevens World Series ladder and will return home to prepare for the next two rounds in Hong Kong and Singapore.
Qantas Australian Men’s Sevens Head Coach Tim Walsh said: “All we could do today was put yesterday’s disappointment behind us and play the moment. “We played without fear, did the basics well and were creative. We are far from pleased with our North American leg and automatic top four qualification is looking out of our grasp.
“We need to be better, build depth and use the remainder of the season to build momentum and prepare for Olympic qualification.
“Nick Malouf and Simon Kennewell again were a standouts and Dylan Pietsch came into the tournament with electrifying impact. We say farewell to Michael Wells as he returns to Super rugby; He saved his best to last and has added value through his stint.”
Australia 47 defeated Kenya 7
A fired up Australian side shot out of the blocks against Kenya, keen to make amends for a disappointing performance on day one. Australia opened the scoring through Simon Kennewell to open the lead. The Aussie 7s put out a clinical performance with further first half tries to Michael Wells, Jeral Skelton and a final one to Simon Kennewell to take a 20-7 lead at the break.
The second half, saw Australia finish the job with a hattrick of tries to Jeral Skelton and Dylan Pietsch saw Australia put on a show against Kenya as the Aussie 7s bounced back to winning form, taking the match 47-7.
Australia 33 defeated Wales 22
Wales were the first to strike in the Challenge Trophy semi-final, taking a 0-5 lead. The Aussie 7s struck back straight away with Henry Hutchison and Simon Kennewell combining to put Simon Kennewell away in the corner. Kennewell went back to back with his second try moments later to take a 12-5 lead. Ethan Davies of Wales struck back for the Dragons to level the scores as 12-12, just before the cusp of half time.
Wales was the first to strike in the second half, scoring off the kick off they gave the men in red a 12-17 lead. Stand in captain Nick Malouf, played a captain’s knock, again finding the line for his side, stepping back inside from the cover defence and running away to score, re-taking the lead, 19-17. The Aussie 7s started to tighten the screw against Wales, with a try to Dylan Pietsch, who powered his way through to two Welsh tackles to score underneath the posts and move the score to 17-26. Jeral Skelton, extended Australia’s lead as the Aussie bench made their impact; Skelton scoring underneath the posts to take the score to 33-17. A final try to Wales was a consolation but Australia had done enough to progress to the Challenge Trophy final, 33-22.
Australia 35 defeated Canada 21
Australia opened their account early with a Simon Kennewell special in the corner, as Australia’s powerful winger smashed his way through to score in the corner and give the Aussies a 7-0 lead. Australia patiently probed the home team’s defence, a kick behind the line from Ben O’Donnell sat up perfectly for Dylan Pietsch who ran away to score Australia’s second try.
Australia continued to pressure Canada on the scoreboard in the second half; a run from Jeral Skelton breaking the Canadian defence with Henry Hutchison the beneficiary to score underneath the posts and take the score to 21-7. John Porch piled on more pain for Canada, scoring underneath the posts to extent the men in gold’s lead to 28-7. Canada, playing in front of their home crowd, refused to give up, scoring late in the second half to narrow the gap to fourteen points between the two nations. Dylan Pietsch continued his good form throughout the tournament, scoring another blistering try as he sliced through the defence to take the score to 35-14. Canada scored off the final play, much to the applause of their own fans, ending the game at 35-21.