No need to panic, says Aussie sevens coach Tim Walsh

Rugby Australia

Coach Tim Walsh said there was no need to hit the panic button after the Aussie men team were bundled out of finals contention at the Sydney Sevens via a heavy loss to the USA. According to the Rugby Australia website.

Australia ultimately finished sixth in Sydney after losing the fifth place playoff to New Zealand on Sunday night after missing out on a semi-final spot.

With the Sydney 7s operating in a straight semi-finals format, Australia needed to beat the USA to top their pool and progress but the hosts were smashed, with American speedsters Perry Baker and Carlin Isles scoring five of the team’s seven tries in a massive 43-7 victory.

 

A one-sided rout at the hands of the USA left the hosts flat after a promising opening day, and a bronze medal a week earlier.

But the huge USA win was summed up by the fact Australia only had the ball for about 10 seconds in the second half, courtesy of a string of lost re-starts and immediate turnovers when they got the ball.

“They played really well,” Walsh said after that match as reported by the Rugby Australia website.

“Obviously we are disappointed and that was nowhere near good enough. We were starved of the ball and when we did have it, we were lucky to go two phases so we barely even fired a shot really.

“Everything was going their way and that’s when we have to learn to at least stem it, and then pull it back, as opposed being an absolute blow-out. So yeah, disappointing on many levels.

“They (the Australian players) did well yesterday but with the amount of ball we had yesterday we were never going to win it. You get games where it doesn’t go your way and that’s what happened there.”

 

Sydney has been a dramatic return to form for the USA, who finished second in the World Series in 2018-19 but haven’t made a podium yet in 2019-20.

Fiji turned a similar corner on Saturday night, finding their missing form by smashing New Zealand and qualifying for the tournament final with a win over England.

Walsh cited the latter when saying the heavy loss, while obviously a cause for concern, was still not a reason to get despondent.

“They happen – look at New Zealand last night, getting drilled by Fiji,” Walsh said.

“Those games do happen and you sort of have to be  on the whole time; this format is a difficult one. One hit and you’re gone.

“You look at individually, the players are making massive inroads. Lachie Anderson is playing really, Josh Turner is going from strength to strength, Lewi Holland I thought had a fantastic tournament to date.

“A loss is not going to change anything but we played well (in Sydney) … two or three losses like that maybe, but one is not anything to worry about.”

The World Series season before an Olympics is turning out to be hard to decipher, with several big teams appearing to be preparing differently and prioritising different tournaments, as far as trialling players and resting others.

Reigning World Series champions Fiji entered Sydney in seventh spot on the series ladder, just above the USA, and they played South Africa in the 9 v 10 playoff a week earlier in Hamilton.

With six tournaments left, Walsh said there was still “lots of footy to come” and with more dips and climbs to come from most teams, the key was to stay composed.

“It is not unusual in sevens. If someone gets beaten then it goes all into crisis mode, but it is literally what happens in on our game,” he said.

“You can get massive wins and massive losses because it is so volatile, mentally and physically over two days, you get all those games and on and off and the bounce of the ball and all those things.

“New Zealand and South Africa got off to a flyer and South Africa were last week in the bottom nine, Fiji are back up again. So one hundred percent it is.

“You have to stay resilient and mentally strong and ride it, and learn every step of the way and let the outcome take care of itself.”

Australia’s men have finished sixth in Sydney after a 24-7 loss to New Zealand in pelting rain.

New Zealand drew first blood after Sione Molia pounced on an Australian handling error in their in-goal in the opening minute.

The Kiwis looked like scoring again as Scott Curry burst down the left edge but Lachie Anderson brought him down before the line.

Regan Ware had a second for New Zealand in the fifth minute as rain belted down at Bankwest Stadium.

Molia snatched a turnover at the ruck and looked like he was trotting in for his second but for some gritty Aussie defence that snuffed that chance out.

New Zealand opened the second half with a score to Dylan Collier after some speedy offloads through the Kiwi attack.

The Kiwis continued to turn the screws as the second half rolled on.

Caleb Clarke slipped through a handful of Aussie defenders to stretch New Zealand’s lead to 24 points with two minutes to go.

Australia had one last chance to attack with the final play of the game and after two minutes of building phases, Josh Turner finally found an opportunity to put Anderson into space to score.

Australia’s hopes of a second straight cup semi-final appearance have been dashed in a 43-7 loss to a rampant USA outfit.

Perry Baker led the way for the USA in what was ultimately a one-sided clash at Bankwest Stadium.

Things didn’t start well for Australia with Baker helping get the USA on the board with a try after just ten seconds.

Baker caught the kick-off and raced upfield for Cody Melphy to take a pass and score.

The Aussies got further in trouble when Baker finished off the USA’s second try a few minutes later, following a powerful run from Danny Barrett down an under-manned right flank.

At 14-0, Australia needed to reply quickly and they did, when Maurice Longbottom scooted blind from a scrum and got free, before finding Lewis Holland in support for a first try.

Baker was again the villain soon after, however, when Australia had the ball turned over just short of the USA line and the Americans surged downfield. A series of pop passes in contact saw Baker stroll over for a 21-7 lead.

Luke Morahan got introduced the action just before halftime, after taking Trae Williams spot overnight, but barely saw the ball in attack.

Any hopes of a second-half recovery by the Aussies were dashed when Carlin Isles raced in for a fourth USA try a minute after oranges, courtesy of several bad defensive reads.

Baker scored his third soon after via simple Australian dropped ball, and Isles bagged another thereafter when the USA regained the ball again from the kick-off and powered through the home defence.

The tries kept coming as the Australians continued to be unable get the ball in the second half.

Isles finished with two for the match and Matai Leuta iced the game in the 13th minute, denying Australia any chance of a late consolation score.

Australia will be relegated to one of the positional playoffs later this afternoon but will not know their overall standing until after the remainder of the pool game.

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