Aussie Sevens rugby stocks rising - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Aussie Sevens rugby stocks rising

By Daniel Brettig 21/03/2010 08:56:56 PM Comments (0)

Despite squandering a chance to reach the Adelaide Sevens final, Australia coach Michael O'Connor believes his side's stocks are rising ahead of this year's Commonwealth Games in India.

The Australians moved up to fourth on the IRB sevens world table after reaching the semi-finals at Adelaide Oval on Sunday.

It was the second successive tournament where the Australians had reached the last-four, losing on both occasions to Samoa, who mowed down tournament surprise packets the USA 38-10 in the final.

While disappointed to lose 24-12 to Samoa, O'Connor said the team had shown there was much to look forward to between now and the Delhi showpiece in October.

"What this tournament's shown is that any side on the day, if they get their act together, (can win)," he said.

"Unfortunately we didn't play our best football. We scraped through from the quarters to the semis not playing our best football against Fiji, so I'm very optimistic we can put better performances on the field and improve.

"There's no doubt there's character, the boys want to win, it's just that execution and handling the pressure and put it all in the experience, hopefully that will pay dividends in the next tournament (the Hong Kong Sevens)."

After a thrilling 26-22 win over Fiji in the quarters, the Australians were unable to repeat the trick against the Samoans, who led 19-0 halftime.

The Pacific Islanders demonstrated why they have been so feared in the sevens format in 2010, using their considerable skills in the air to retain possession then hammering away at the Australians whenever they had the ball.

"We were 19-0 down before we knew what was going on," said O'Connor, who was full of praise for the performance of the Samoans.

"They're experts at it, they're the best in the competition, they outplayed us in the air and on the ground I thought their work at the ruck was particularly good, they counter-rucked us and upset what little ball that we had."

"It is very hard to come back from that sort of scoreline in the second half and the way they started they were on a roll, they denied us possession and our blokes were a bit shellshocked I think."

Australian captain Patrick McCutcheon, teenager Liam Gill and centre Brackin Karauria-Henry all enjoyed fruitful tournaments, McCutcheon showing he will provide plenty of spirit and no little skill to the Waratahs after earning a Super 14s contract.

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