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Australia win in London to set up World Sevens finale title-decider

Australia win in London to set up World Sevens finale title-decider

RUGBY: The battle for the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series title will go down to the final event after Australia defeated New Zealand to claim their first gold medal of the season in London on Sunday (May 29).

Rugby
By AFP

Tuesday 31 May 2022, 10:29AM


Australia celebrate their win at Twickenham. Photo: AFP

Australia celebrate their win at Twickenham. Photo: AFP

Hat-trick hero Henry Paterson scored a golden-point try as Australia won 19-14 at Twickenham to ensure the race for the overall title will go down to the wire in the concluding leg in Los Angeles on Aug 28-29.

It was Australia’s first gold medal at a men’s sevens series event since 2018 and came after they started this London edition with a 24-19 loss to New Zealand.

Fiji took the bronze with a 31-26 win over fellow Pacific islanders Samoa.

Reigning overall champions South Africa could have retained their title on Sunday, but instead the Blitzboks were beaten in the last eight by Australia after blowing a 17-point lead.

Australia appeared to be heading for a quarter-final defeat as they fell 17-0 but they responded with 21 unanswered points, with two tries from Paterson completing a remarkable rally.

South Africa, however, reclaimed top spot in the standings with 124 points, two ahead of Australia on 122. Argentina are third with 118 points, with Fiji in fourth on 104.

History was against Australia ahead of the final, as they had not beaten New Zealand in a final for 20 years, and lost eight of 10 sevens finals against their old rivals overall.

QSI International School Phuket

A tight first half was scoreless until 30 seconds before the interval when Paterson received a clever reverse pass to go under the posts.

But New Zealand, knocked out in the pool phase for the first time in Toulouse last weekend, hit back through Akuila Rokolisoa before Leroy Carter crossed to turn the game on its head.

Paterson showed his class again with his second try of the game and sixth of the weekend, gathering the ball at a standstill midway into his own half before sprinting clear to go the distance.

At the other end of the pitch, Paterson then made a superb try-saving tackle in the final play of regulation time, forcing Caleb Tangitau into touch to send the game into extra time.

Paterson then crowned a superb solo display by darting into the corner to score the winning golden point try.

In the other quarter-finals, Fiji overwhelmed hosts England 36-10, Samoa defeated Spain 34-12 and New Zealand saw off Ireland 17-7.

Australia then beat Samoa 26-14 but the other semi-final was a much tighter affair, with New Zealand stunning high-flying Fiji by coming from 14 points behind to win 22-19 after Rokolisoa’s try off a blindside break.

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