‘Hung in there’: Aussie men and women set up Hong Kong Sevens semi-finals against New Zealand


Michael Hooper’s debut sevens tournament continues to prove a success with the Olympics-hunting Wallabies great enjoying cameo roles as both Australian sides marched to the semi-finals in Hong Kong.

The 125-times capped Hooper again came off the bench to enjoy four minutes of action as Australia’s men strolled to a 31-0 win over Canada in their final group match but was only needed as a last-minute sub in their 15-0 quarter-final win over South Africa later on Saturday.

The 33-year-old Hooper’s next test as he is being gently eased into the high-paced sevens world will be in a blockbuster semi-final against New Zealand on Sunday’s final day of the marquee World Series event.

Australia will take on New Zealand in the Honk Kong Sevens semi-finals after beating South Africa 15-0 thanks to an inspired defensive effort. Photo credit: Mike Lee – KLC fotos for World Rugby

Maurice Longbottom was the star in Australia’s quarter-final shut out win over the Blitzboks, as the playmaker scored a try and landed a second half field goal penalty to give the men in gold a handsome lead.

His long-range counter-attack from a South African clearing kick gave Australia possession and territory, as John Manenti’s side led 5-0 at half-time.

Where Australia controlled possession, it was their defence that once again proved telling.

Captain Nick Malouf won a crucial penalty at the breakdown, while Henry Hutchison was everywhere in defence.

Bringing that pressure ????#Aussie7s #HSBCSVNS pic.twitter.com/pIqswvpM8b

— Australia Sevens (@Aussie7s) April 6, 2024

The Australian women, currently leading the season’s standings, will also face a semi-final against their big New Zealand rivals after continuing their unbeaten run  into the last-four with a 12-0 quarter-final victory over Japan.

On a day when women’s captain Charlotte Caslick led the way by starring in her 300th World Series match, magnificent defence proved the keystone for both Australian sides as they kept their opponents scoreless across all their four matches in the Hong Kong Stadium on Saturday.

After the men had gone 24-0 up against Canada with tries from Malouf, Michael Icely, Dietrich Roache and Nathan Lawson, Hooper was freed up to enjoy his longest spell of action and nearly went over for a try himself in the final seconds after Henry Paterson had completed the five-try romp.

But in a tight knockout match, which was settled by the Aussies’ stifling defence and tries from the brilliant pair of Nathan Lawson and Longbottom, Hooper was only brought off the bench in the final 30 seconds against the Blitzboks.

“A few things didn’t go to plan so we had to fight through but we just hung in there,” said Malouf of their win.

“We were able to have a couple of scores on the board and were able to manage that with the shot on goal late (from Longbottom). I’m excited about tomorrow.”

Take ‘em on, Teagan ????#Aussie7s #HSBCSVNS pic.twitter.com/n6naG5BpKJ

— Australia Sevens (@Aussie7s) April 6, 2024

The women, who have been plagued by indiscipline during this season’s tournament, overcame a yellow card to Sariah Paki in the second half to record their win over Japan in a tight quarter-final with tries from Tia Hinds and Teagan Levi.

“We’ve been starting games slow so as a group we need to be a bit better at that,” said Levi.

“Japan wanted it more at the start but at half-time we came out firing and we wanted it more than them at the end.”

Earlier, Maddison Levi and Faith Nathan had both scored twice in a 28-0 group-stage win over South Africa.

In the match of the day, defending men’s champions New Zealand knocked out Fiji 19-12 in the quarter-final with a last-minute try from Tone Ng Shiu to set up their Australia clash, while France, without their new superstar recruit Antoine Dupont, will play Ireland in the other semi.

France will play the US in the other women’s semi-final. 


Pool B
Australia 19 defeated Fiji 12
Australia 35 defeated Ireland 0
Australia 28 defeated South Africa 0
Quarter-Final: Australia 12 defeated Japan 0

Sunday, April 7
Semi-Final: Australia v New Zealand – 3:17pm (AEST)


Pool A
Australia 12 defeated Fiji 0
France 19 defeated Australia 14
Australia 31 defeated Canada 0
Quarter-Final: Australia 15 defeated South Africa 0

Sunday, April 7
Semi-Final: Australia v New Zealand – 4:06pm (AEST)

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