Australian men cap perfect Sevens with rout of South Africa

Australia's men won their first World Series title in five years with an emphatic 29-0 victory over South Africa in Sydney on Sunday but it was a quote from veteran James Stannard before the final that proved to be incredibly pertinent.

"We just had enough of coming second or losing," Stannard said. "There's a stage where you've got to flick it [the switch] and go f--- it, we want it. Excuse my French."

During his interview, Stannard even used the words, "when we win".

One could sense how much this Australia team wanted to make this their evening.

While the afternoon belonged to Australia's women, the evening belonged to the men who finally stepped out of the shadows of their female counterparts in the most resounding fashion to complete a stunning victory.

After thumping Argentina 28-0 in the semi-final, Australia maintained enthusiasm and pure grit to produce a five-tries-to-zero shellacking as undisputed underdogs against last season's World Series champions.

"Did I think it would be 29-blot? No, I probably didn't," said coach Andy Friend. "To see them play like that ??? I'm very, very proud.

"We have been building. We never give up and we've built our team on that.

"We're going to soak this one up, I can promise you, because it's been a while.

"I've been coaching now for 23 years and I've never seen a group of people work harder than these blokes and so to see them go out day after day and not get the recognition, it's been tough."

Australia have a habit of over-performing in Sydney. At the inaugural event in 2016, they reached the final before being bundled out at the last hurdle by New Zealand.

Last year they finished fourth and exceeded expectations but this time few punters would have given the Aussies a shot of creating their own slice of history, particularly after late injuries to Simon Kennewell and Boyd Killingworth.

Toyko in 2012 was the last tournament the Aussies lifted a piece of proper silverware.

In front of a strong Sydney crowd, who waited around for the final match of the three-day rugby party, everything clicked when it mattered.

There was Lewis Holland's barnstorming runs that broke through a usually stonewall South African defensive line.

Who could forget Stannard's little chip through that was picked up by John Porch for his try?

"He just keeps getting younger doesn't he," Friend said. "I thought he was fantastic. He's been a stalwart of this program and he's such a character.

And what about Ben O'Donnell's two tries in the final three minutes? Or player of the final Lachlan Anderson's brilliance in the air and his match-defining tackle on Rosko Specman in the corner?

It was more than that though. Had it not been for Maurice Longbottom's beautiful left-foot step and score when things were level in the quarter-final against New Zealand, Australia's dream might not have become a reality.

Without question, the squad will get a massive confidence boost out of their performance ahead of the Commonwealth Games in April and the World Cup in July.

"It gives them enormous belief," Friend said. "For them to turn up on a World Series and to knock off South Africa and New Zealand must give them belief. Great sides win but championship sides keep winning."

On the final day, Australia boasted a staggering 81-12 scoreline across three games.

In the overall World Series standings, Australia has now leapfrogged into third behind South Africa and New Zealand.

Earlier in the day, new Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle quipped, "I haven't lost a game as CEO".

It's safe to say after rugby's tumultuous year that was 2017, she is more than welcome to stick around.

This story Australian men cap perfect Sevens with rout of South Africa first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.