Australia finish seventh in Sydney after Samoa defeat

Sun, Jan 29, 2023, 4:07 AM
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
Sydney Sevens Tournament Breakdown

Australia have been outclassed by Samoa in the fifth-place semi-final, going down 24-10 to Samoa.

The Cape Town champions were ruthless in the first half, defying a yellow card to Motu Opetai to score 24 straight points.

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Tries to Darby Lancaster and Henry Paterson got the Aussies back into the contest but it was too little, too late as their campaign comes to an end in Sydney.

"It just wasn't our day today," a dejected Paterson said after the match.

"They got the better of us and were the better team. We missed a few areas in execution but can't fault the boys' effort."

With valuable World Series points on the line, the higher-ranked Samoans came out flying via Vaa Apelu Maliko, scooping up a loose ball and scoring in the corner.

When the hosts tried to create their own chances, handling let them down as they couldn't capitalise on the strong field position and a yellow card to Opetai for a yellow card.

Samoa scored twice with Opetai in the bin, including Taunuu Niulevaea's second to put the game out of reach.

The frustration was clear to see for the Australians and boiled over when Stu Dunbar was dumped on his head. This saw Neueli Leitufia sent off and Dunbar issued a yellow for his part in the resulting melee.

It caps off a frustrating 24 hours for the side, having fallen to France in the quarter-finals following an impressive victory over Argentina to finish the group stages.

"Every single minute of that tournament up until the France game, our focus was to win the thing and we weren't here just to compete," Paterson added.

"We were building towards playing the footy that can get us there so knowing we had an opportunity to win the whole thing and some of the decisions in the French game, that'll be tough to watch back."

The side will look to rebound in Los Angeles at the end of February, likely without Henry Hutchison after he suffered a suspected ACL injury, set to head for further scans in the coming days.

Samoa 24 (TRIES: Maliko, Niulevaea 2, Falaniko; CONS: Matavao 2) def Australia 10 (TRIES: Lancaster, Paterson)

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