‘We should be the Aussie sixes’: the huge problem star sevens team must fix before Paris Olympics
Discipline issues finally caught up with the Australian women sevens team as a third red card of the 2023-24 World Series saw them fall to a surprise defeat to Great Britain in Perth on Friday night.
“We should be the Aussie sixes at the moment,” coach Tim Walsh said after the world’s best team fell 19-12 to the Brits.
“We’re playing with six players a lot. When you’re in attack, you can’t play a switch, you isolate yourself so we should be passing and chasing our passing so there’s no losing the ball at the breakdown.”
With Maddi Levi already sidelined after her red card in Cape Town, her sisten Teagan became the latest player sent off.
While the previous two reds didn’t derail the Aussies, this one in Perth did.
“Evidence suggests yes (there is an issue). It’s the laws of the game and it’s for the welfare and safety of the players,” Walsh acknowledged.
“So we have been working on it, just to get that front foot in and get a little bit lower. But obviously, we’ve got to work a little bit harder.”
Australia will go to the Paris Olympics as a leading contender later this but the discipline issue is one they must fix to give themselves the best chance of regaining the gold medal won in 2016.
Great Britain posted the opening try but were pegged back as Bienne Terita set up Alysia Lefau-Fakaosilea.
Levi was sent off when she was adjudged to have hit Emma Uren with a high tackle. Australia did manage to [post the next score through Terita but the Brits came home strongly as Australia’s six players faded – conceding twice in the final few minutes.
Earlier Australia made a blistering start surging to a 31-0 win over South Africa.
Coming off wins in the first two events of the season, the host nation scored tries off their first two possessions and dominated against their 11th-ranked opponents.
Terita sprinted 80 metres to open the scoring after 25 seconds, and just over a minute later from the restart Lefau-Fakaosilea crossed for the second.
Faith Nathan added a third try in the fifth minute, with Australia defending well over the last 90 seconds of the half to preserve a 17-0 lead going into the break.
Terita notched her second within two minutes of the restart and debutante Heidi Dennis scored Australia’s fifth and final try.
Australia’s men’s team suffered a heartbreaking 19-14 golden-point loss to a Perry Baker-inspired USA in their opening match of the men’s section before responding with a 26-14 win over Great Britain, having gone 14-0 down inside three minutes.
Against the US, Australia were 14-0 up halfway through the second half, but two tries to returning superstar Baker helped level the game.
With no draws allowed under this year’s revised format, the game went on and Malacchi Esdale crossed less than 40 seconds into golden-point time to settle the issue.
After a scoreless first half, Australia broke the game open with two tries in the first three minutes of the second period.
Maurice Longbottom crossed after the US lost the ball from a lineout throw and Ben Dowling made good ground after the turnover.
Dietrich Roache set up a 14-0 lead when he stepped his way across the line.
Baker, the third highest try-scorer in Sevens Series history, who didn’t play in the first two rounds of this seasons competition, marked his return with a brilliant solo try, showing great footwork and speed.
With just over a minute remaining, he raced on to a pass to sweep over for his second five-pointer, with the conversion levelling the score.