Congrats coach John Manenti, coaching crew and team on Australia’s first Hong Kong title since 1988.
It was also the nation’s first final win over Fiji since 2001 and they are the first team to beat Fiji in Hong Kong since 2014.
The Aussie sevens team really lives on the edge, rarely having the game completely under their control but doing all the small things right to deliver wins.
The squad is pretty much the same as last year, when they won the World Sevens, led by Nick Malouf and Manenti.
The first match, against Hong Kong, was a bit of a training run, running out 43-0. A skill they have really honed is regaining the ball from kick off restarts, having worked with former Swans player Nick Davis.
Against Samoa, while Australia was up 17-5, Samoa scored after full time to win 22-17. Poor young Darby Lancaster took some sprigs in the face in a tackle attempt and ended up with stitches.
The New Zealand game was a must win for both teams and the Aussies just looked better organised. They had a bit of luck with an intercept but add a bit of Moz Longbottom magic and the Aussie lads won 24-17.
In the quarter-final against Ireland, Malouf was yellow carded, which could have been a red. Ireland ran in two tries and were up 19-5 with less than two minutes remaining but Jimmy Turner scored and Longbottom converted from the sideline. From the restart, Malouf soared to take the ball on the full and scored (a bit of redemption for the yellow card). Longbottom then scored after full time.
Against France, the semi was a tight affair but Australia toughed it out and made the final, where Fiji lay in wait.
Going into the final, Lancaster was out with a stack of stitches in his chin and Turner’s ankle was in a moon boot.
Fiji shot out early to be up 12-0 but the Aussies hung in there and scored right on halftime, then again in the second half through Tim Clements.
A yellow card to Fiji and a smart kick pass from Longbottom to Henry Hutchinson got the score to 17-15.
With 40 seconds left, Fiji still looked in control but a terrific tackle by Longbottom saw the ball bobble out and Nathan Lawson score.
Game. Set. Match. Euphoria for the team.
The confidence in the Aussie camp must be at an all-time high.
Next stop Dubai.