Mixed fortunes for Aussie Sevens in London

Australia’s women’s Sevens team have all but qualified for next year’s Rio Olympics while the men’s side will need to take a longer route following a dramatic day of action in London.

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Australia’s women snatched victory over Canada 20-17 in the final with the last play of the decider to win their first title of the season.

Trailing 17-5 with five minutes remaining, Australia rose to the occasion with tries to Charlotte Caslick and Nicole Beck before Ellia Green surged over for the last-gasp match-winner.

The triumph moved Australia to equal-second on the overall standings, meaning only a dismal event in Amsterdam next weekend in the final round of the women’s world series would deny them their place in Rio.

“Game by game we progressed and just got better. Hopefully it’s just another step to where we want to be,” said Australia’s coach Tim Walsh.

It was a huge turnaround for Australia given they’d finished seventh at the Canada Sevens last month that included losses to Russia and the United States.

Their 24-5 win over New Zealand in the semi-finals in London ended the Kiwis’ four-from-four tournament record this year.

It ended a tournament of mixed emotions for New Zealand, who became the first team to guarantee a spot at the Olympics.

New Zealand also take an unassailable 20-point lead over Australia and Canada at the top of the series ladder to claim a third title in succession.

Meanwhile in the men’s competition, Australia missed out on automatic qualification for Rio despite winning through to the quarter-finals.

Victories over Japan 41-0 and Wales 19-14 assured Australia’s progression in London, going through as the No.2 team in Pool B following a 24-10 loss to New Zealand.

However, England secured the fourth and final Olympic qualification berth by also moving into the last eight.

That means Australia’s next chance to book a spot for Rio will come at the Oceania Regional tournament in Auckland in November.

Australia face Scotland in Sunday’s quarter-finals, while in the other Cup match-ups, series leaders Fiji meet South Africa, New Zealand take on England and the United States play Canada.

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