Sydney University Football Club had four players in the Australian Sevens squad that won the London round of the IRB Sevens World Series, played at Twickenham on Sunday.
Jacob Taylor, Nick Phibbs, Bernard Foley and Ed Jenkins were in the squad with Phibbs playing in the finall when Australia toppled defending champions South Africa 19-14 in a closely fought affair. The side was also without captain Pat McCutcheon (SUFC), who was representing NSW Waratahs in their 25-6 Super 14 semi-final loss to the Stormers at Newlands Stadium, Cape Town.
His replacement, James Stannard, raced the length of the Twickenham pitch in the dying seconds of the decider to make a match-winning tackle and secure the title in front of a crowd of 40,000.
Australian took an early 7-nil lead in the final with a try to Brackin-Karauria Henry before South Africa levelled with a chip and chase try to Fabian Juries.
Stannard put Australia ahead 12-7 with a try soon after half-time, but the defending champions regained the lead – 14-12 -when Juries scored his second.
Australia regained the advantage – 19-14 – through a try to forward Henry Vanderglas, but with seconds remaining South Africa’s Cecil Afrika looked certain to level the scores when Stannard pulled off his try-saver.
Australian coach Michael O’Connor was ecstatic with the win. “James made an unbelievable tackle; he chased him (Afrika)) the length of the field and put an unbelievable tackle on him and sent him into touch,” he said.
“I thought James had no chance of getting him; I have no idea where he pulled that pace from.”
Australia went through the tournament undefeated to move into equal third with Fiji on the overall standings. They disposed of England 38-5 in the opening game before beating Argentina 26-14 to earn a berth in the final.
The Australian captain was the highest pointscorer in the penultimate leg of the IRB Series with 67 points, while Sills posted nine tries in the London round.
The final leg of the IRB Series will be played in Scotland.
While SUFC’s Sevens representatives return home with winning smiles, the club’s NSW representatives have not been so fortunate, missing out on a Super 14 final berth after going down to the Stormers.
SUFC’s Waratahs representatives in 2010 included skipper Phil Waugh, prop Jeremy Tilse, second-rowers Dean Mumm, Dave Dennis and Will Caldwell, flanker Pat McCutcheon, halfback Luke Burgess, five-eighths Berrick Barnes and Daniel Halangahu, and inside-centre Tom Carter.
Many of them will be welcomed back to club football where SUFC – the defending Shute Shield champions – have been struggling, losing five of the seven opening rounds.
The Students went down 35-11 to Eastwood at University No.1 Oval on Saturday, and now lie third last on the competition ladder.
Sydney Grade competition – Round 7
First Grade: Eastwood 35 (Gareth Palamo, Barney Wood, Sione Piukala, Ben Batger tries; Ben Batger 3 goals, 3 pen goals) d Sydney University 11 (Nathan Trist try; Eddie Bredenhann 2 pen goals) at Sydney University No.1 Oval.
Second Grade: 39 (Tom Wallace, Anthony Pohlen, Josh Elice-Flint, Chris Chapman, John Dillon tries; Justin Bosilkovski 4 goals, 2 pen goals) d Eastwood 10 (Dan Murray, Mike Zylstra tries).
Third Grade: Sydney University 34 (Nick Duffy, Harry Marples, Richie Finau, James McMahon, James Cameron, Lachlan Rosengreen tries; Toby L’Estrange 2 goals) d Eastwood 6 (Ian Cowan 2 pen goals).
Fourth Grade: Sydney University 76 (Tim Broomham 2, Yas Takahashi 2, Tom Mathers 2, Ally McClay 2, Lachlan Rosengreen, Tom Campbell, Hamish King, John Langford tries; James Metcalfe 8 goals) d Eastwood 0.
First Grade: Sydney University 38 (5 tries) d Eastwood 24.
Second Grade: Eastwood 13 d Sydney University 7.
Third Grade: Sydney University 31 (5 tries) d Eastwood 16.