BERRY’S Tom Connor and his Australian men’s sevens side have missed out on a semi-final berth at the Commonwealth Games following a heart-breaking loss to England in their final pool clash.
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In the abbreviated Commonwealth Games format, only one team progressed from each pool leaving Australia in second place and now in the playoff for fifth.
It started brightly on Saturday as Australia cruised to wins against Samoa and Jamaica but fell at the final pool hurdle despite holding a seven-point lead at one point during the encounter.
“That means a hell of a lot to them, for a lot of reasons but sometimes in life, the things you wish for don't happen,” Australian men’s sevens coach Andy Friend said.
"As long as you give everything and I do believe out there - we saw the energy and they gave everything they had - it just wasn't our day.
"If we had gone out there and we laid down, I would feel really empty, because that's not what this team is about.
"But it's a game of Sevens and we know that a game of Sevens at this level and on the World Series - it can go either way.
"You want to win and you want it to be a nice fairytale but fairytales don't come true, quite often,” Friend said.
Australia 24 defeated Samoa 7
Australia's men started their Commonwealth Games campaign in scintillating fashion, cruising past Samoa in style.
Samoa had all the early ball and after a multi-phase movement they finally broke Australia's line, Neria Fomai getting past John Porch en route to the line.
The Aussies duly responded, a determined run from captain Jesse Parahi and some superb hands from Tom Lucas setting up Lachie Anderson to level things up at 7-all with just under three minutes left in the first term.
Anderson stretched out to add another one minute later, Lucas again playing a starring role in the Samoan red zone.
Maurice Longbottom then entered the fray and with his first touch he juked his way through four defenders before sprinting away to open up a 17-7 half-time lead.
When play resumed Tom Connor followed Longbottom's lead, forcing a penalty at the breakdown before scoring with his first touch too.
That was a constant theme of the second term, Australia punishing Samoa at the breakdown and cruising to a comfortable win.
Australia 32 defeated Jamaica 5
Australia breezed past Jamaica to go back-to-back on day two, setting up a winner takes all showdown with England.
Ben O'Donnell kicked the match off in style with a gliding run to the try line, dummying to his inside to avert the Jamaican cover defence.
Maurice Longbottom then left his opposite number for dead 70 metres out from the line, scorching the turf on his way to his second try of the day.
The Australians had settled into their flow by this point and with just over two to play in the first half, John Porch found his way to the line with a sharp turn of foot.
Longbottom and Jesse Parahi then combined for the former's third try of the day but the Jamaicans responded, leaving the score poised at 20-5 at the break.
Jamaica controlled possession through the first three minutes of the second term but Australia repelled their attack and responded with a try of their own, Sam Myers touching down.
Longbottom earned his hat-trick with an athletic finish in the corner, the final nail in the Jamaican coffin.
Australia 17 defeated by England 26
Jesse Parahi set the tone for the Australians when he rocked an English player from the opening kick-off and 30 seconds later, Tom Lucas threw a cut-out pass to put Ben O'Donnell in for the first points of the match.
England worked their way up the field and returned serve through Dan Norton before John Porch made a half break and tried to put his support away, only for Tom Mitchell to be sent to the sin bin for a deliberate knockdown.
The Australians immediately made the Poms pay, Porch falling over the line after Lachie Anderson made a half break.
Lucas slotted a tough conversion to put the Australians up 12-5 but a Charlie Taylor grubber kick and a pair of missed tackles saw England respond once more, Phil Burgess the try scorer.
That levelled the scores at 12-all at the break and missed tackles were once again Australia's kryptonite when play resumed, as Ruaridh McConnochie crossed to give England their first lead, at 19-12.
Finally Maurice Longbottom entered the fray and he immediately provided the spark Australia craved, drawing two defenders and putting Tom Connor away to cut the gap to two.
But as they had all match, England responded once again through Alex Davis to put the result beyond doubt.
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