World Rugby Sevens Series
Australia win HSBC Sevens World Series Wellington 7s Plate final
January 31, 2016
© Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

Australia produced their best performance of the HSBC Sevens World Series season, beating Argentina 21-5 to win the Plate final in Wellington.

The victory gives the Thunderbolts a boost in confidence heading into the inaugural Sydney Sevens by finishing fifth in New Zealand, having won five of their six games.

Australia, unbeaten in pool play, lost their quarterfinal 26-14 to tournament runners up South Africa on Sunday, mirroring their losses at the same stage of the first two tournaments, in Dubai and Cape Town, but this time they went on to claim the second-tier prize with a 17-5 victory over the highly rated United States and their three tries-to-one defeat of Argentina in the final.

The victory sees Australia rise from eighth to seventh on the ladder after three of 10 rounds, with the young side applying selection pressure after a number of key players weren't selected this week.

Regular captain Ed Jenkins and key attacker Cam Clark were rested to prepare for Sydney, where Wallabies playmaker Quade Cooper is also expected to make his Sevens debut. Australia fielded an interim captain in evergreen half James Stannard and an interim coach in Scott Bowen.

New head coach Andy Friend watched from the stands but will take charge in Sydney.

Stannard, 32, delivered a reminder of his class with neat touches throughout his 26th tournament.

He also reached a milestone by lifting his World Series points tally to 638 - seven more than previous Australian record holder, Peter Miller.

Stannard brushed the record to one side after eclipsing it against the USA.

"It's not about that really, it's about how we perform as a team," he said. "We've improved in each step but against a quality team like South Africa, make a couple of mistakes and they'll put you to the sword."

Greg Jeloudev was a standout performer with five tries, but a number of rookies also impressed, including Henry Hutchison, Stephan Van Der Walt and John Porch in his tournament debut.

New Zealand defeated South Africa in the Cup final, the All Blacks Sevens beating the Blitzbokke with three tries in two minutes to conjure a miracle title victory.


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