Australia 7s Rugby Team

The Sevens World Series returned to Tokyo this weekend, and oh what a comeback! After a rainy Day 1 that saw four teams through unbeaten, Sunday was warm and sunny and offered spectacular rugby all around.

After a poor group stage, beating only hosts Japan, France picked themselves up and emerged victorious for the Bowl final, while Fiji followed up their stellar performance in Hong Kong and secured the Plate.

The final four all proved themselves worthy, and New Zealand showed tremendous grit coming back from 17-0 down, pipping England to third place. England’s Dan Norton scored the try of the day via a 60 yard run through three Kiwi defenders.

Samoa started the final steadily but still saw themselves trailing at half time after three spectacular tries by the more aggressive Australians. Second half offered lots of drama as the islanders worked themselves back to a 26-21 lead with only two minutes to go. Australia emerged victorious, however, after Matt Lucas scored a difficult conversion from Ed Jenkins’s try. Final score Australia 28-26 Samoa!

Not having seen Sevens rugby for a while, the atmosphere in Tokyo was electric. Credit to the arrangers for making it family friendly as well as showing large tolerance for rowdy gaijin fans. Fiji and France dominated the stands on Day 2, but only because Cru players were busy on the field down in Yokohama (read the match report). Best crowd moment was when a drunk New Zealand fan called out to the rows behind him “Oi, you Frenchies! Stand up and support New Zealand!”, upon which a man in a French beret offered a resounding “Baa!”

In true Japanese fashion, the organizers picked a six year old kid in a Japan shirt as “Best Performer.” Our favorite, however, were two Aussies in Pikachu costumes (or they might have been koalas) who ran on to the field to hug the uprights after the final whistle. Extra point to the security guard who tackled one of them off the field. He might just make Japan’s team next year.

All in all, we had two very good days of rugby here in Tokyo, and surely Sevens must be back for good.

 

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