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Australian men hit back to win Bowl Final in Dubai

The Qantas Australian Men’s Sevens team has hit back from a disappointing first day to claim the Bowl on day two of the HSBC Sevens World Series tournament in Dubai.After losses to Wales and Scotland on the first day had knocked them out of Cup contention, Australia came back with wins over the USA (47-7), the 2012 champions Samoa (19-14) and Portugal (17-12) to clinch the Bowl decider.The three wins on day two will go some way to erasing the memories of a horror first day and Australia will move on with renewed confidence to the next leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series in Port Elizabeth next weekend.“I was nearly about to put myself on suicide watch last night but it’s a little bit better today” said a clearly relieved Australian Men’s coach Michael O’Connor.“It was disappointing waking after a day like yesterday” he continued, “We were very disappointed in our effort. We just made too many errors.”“But today it’s been a bit of a turnaround. A good first up win (over the USA) and it’s good to beat an A team like Samoa. They are the reigning champions here and they are a very good team. “O’Connor was also pleased how Australia held their nerve to come back from 14-12 in the final seconds against Samoa and clinch the victory with a superb long range try.“They showed great composure at the end” he said, “They didn’t panic, they took their time with the tap and they backed themselves.”He was also pleased with the progress of some players making their debut in Dubai.BOWL SEMI-FINAL – AUSTRALIA 19 SAMOA 14Australia faced a stern test in the Bowl Semi-Final against last year’s Dubai 7s champions, Samoa.But good pressure in defence straight from the kick off saw the ball come loose and Ed Jenkins toed the ball ahead and dived over to put Australia ahead 5-0 after just a minute.Samoa then put the pressure on in defence but Australia kept their composure well and after recycling the ball through a number of phases Jenkins scooped up the ball from the base of a ruck to run over untouched. Paul Asquith this time landed the conversion and Australia were up 12-0 at half time.Samoa threatened to get back in the match after the re-start but excellent defence from Australia snuffed out a dangerous looking attack.But Samoa were in through Oneone Faafou a minute later wide out and an excellent conversion by Alatasi Tupou set up a tense final five minutes with the score at 12-7.A big tackle from Tom Lucas then won possession back for Australia and Luke Morahan just failed to ground a clever kick through that would have made the game safe.Australia continued to defend well but finally Samoa broke through with a try to Lio Lolo, again converted by Tupou to put Samoa in front 14-12 for the first time in the match.With the clock running down Australia had one last chance and again they showed tremendous composure and ball security to keep possession.Eventually Shannon Walker burst through the Samoan defence with a powerful run downfield. He was caught close to the line but he showed superb strength to keep up on his feet long enough to get a pass away to James Stannard who was backing up brilliantly to drive over.Stannard converted and Australia were through to the Bowl Final.Qantas Australian Men’s Sevens 19 (Ed Jenkins 2, James Stannard tries; Paul Asquith, Stannard conversions) defeated Samoa 14 (Oneone Faafou, Lio Lolo tries; Alatasi Tupou 2 conversions) at 7he Sevens, Dubai. (Half Time: Australia 12 Samoa 0