‘Need to be great’: Aussie men rue Dubai near misses
Australian men's sevens coach Tim Walsh blamed a lack of composure at key moments for his team falling just short of a medal at the Dubai Sevens.
The Australians were undefeated coming into day two and started with a comprehensive 38-0 victory over Argentina to breeze through the quarterfinals on Saturday.
But they fell to two heartbreaking losses after the siren, to USA in the semifinal and England in the third place playoff, to narrowly miss out on the podium.
"We're not quite there yet, that's the reality of it," Walsh said.
"We did some world class things, had some world class performances from individuals.
"But it's a team sport and we've got to put it all together - and that's what it's going to take to be on the podium."
In the semifinal against the USA, played in the fading desert sunlight, Australia led 17-12 deep into the second half and had chances to close it out but small mistakes gave the Eagles an opportunity with Stephen Tomasin levelling the scores.
Danny Barrett then dove over for the winner after the siren.
It was a similar story in the bronze medal match as Australia led England 14-5 at the break through two tries to speedster Lachlan Anderson, before Harry Glover went over after fulltime as once again victory was snatched from the Aussies.
Asked the difference between victory and defeat Walsh said: "Just holding composure.
"Under stress you go back to old habits and that's what we have to unravel.
"This sport is all about composure and playing in those moments, making the right decision.
"That will take us to the next level."
Singling out some of his best performers, Walsh mentioned Anderson, Maurice Longbottom, John Porch and Tim Anstee.
"We didn't play badly at all hence losing two games on the buzzer," he said.
"So that is the difference.
"You break it all down there was some outstanding performances from a lot of players and a good performance from the team, but good's not going to cut it.
"We need to be better - we need to be great."
An understrength, injury depleted New Zealand claimed the gold against USA in the final 21-5, following on from the Black Ferns victory in the women's tournament on Friday.
The Aussie men now head to Cape Town for the second leg of the World Series next weekend.
The women are next in action at the Sydney Sevens at the start of February.
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