Aussie coach sees highs and lows in sevens campaign
AUSTRALIA sevens coach Andy Friend has praised his team for a defeat of New Zealand at the season-ending London tournament but lamented the up-and-down campaign in the World Series.
The Aussies finished in sixth place in London after losing to series winners South Africa 28-17.
Earlier they had been beaten in the Cup quarter-finals by the USA 31-14 but responded well to defeat the Kiwis 40-7 to end up sixth.
"I thought the boys did really well to bounce back and put 40 points on New Zealand, who have been a really tough team for us to beat," Friend said.
"And then we had the chance to beat the current World Champions at the end and for all bar the last 30 seconds, I thought we were going to win that.
"A disappointing day with positive signs but we finished sixth at the tournament and sixth for the season so it's probably a fitting result.
"Looking back on the year, when we were good, we were very good and when we were bad, we were rotten.
"The highs and lows of that are too far apart so we need to flatten that out. That's part of having a young squad, we've been guilty of inconsistencies so we need to look at that.
"I have been really impressed by the young squad, they have a lot of fighting spirit and in time we'll be able to turn them into a championship winning side.
"There's been a lot of talk about the young players but you need the older heads too, like James Stannard who led us so well over the past two weeks.
"We have six tournaments that we're looking at in between now at the next World Series. The most important thing for me is to get more players playing whether it's club competitions or through the nationals or what have you.
"When I get back, I'll continue to have discussions on how we can support that, not just at a senior level but at a junior level too to really open up opportunities for everyone to be playing the game of Sevens."
Scotland won the tournament, defeating host England in the final 12-7.
The Scots' triumph came after the team had become the first from the country to defeat New Zealand in any competition in more than 100 years.
They were losing 21-0 at half-time in the quarter-final but fought back remarkably to secure a 24-1 success before defeating USA 19-14 in the semis with a last-second try.