Nathan, Longbottom named in Hong Kong Dream Team as Australia secure places in Madrid Final

Mon, Apr 8, 2024, 10:33 PM
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
Faith Nathan blitzes South Africa in the final pool game of SVNS Hong Kong 2024

Australia Sevens stars Faith Nathan and Maurice Longbottom have been honoured for their strong performances in Hong Kong after being named to the respective Dream Teams.

Nathan was influential in Tim Walsh's side's bronze medal finish, sprinting away to set up the game-winning try to Charlotte Caslick against France.

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Finalists New Zealand and the USA both had two nominations, with Kiwi captain Risi Pouri-Lane and Michaela Blyde included after their title whilst Alev Kelter and Ilona Maher were named from the USA.

Japan's Yume Hirano and France's Joanna Grisez rounded out the side.

As for the Men, Longbottom's inclusion was well-deserved as the vice-captain thrived on his return to the Sevens circuit after missing Los Angeles due to injury.

The Australians went down to New Zealand in the semi-finals, who dominated the side with three nominations.

This included Tepeara Cook-Savage, Regan Ware and Dylan Collier whilst French duo Aaron Grandidier and Antoine Zeghdar along with Irish star Zac Ward were named.

In positive news for John Manenti's side, their fourth place finish was enough to book their spot in the Madrid Grand Final on 31 May – 2 June.

They sit in sixth on the world series ladder, jumped by New Zealand after their title win, however, have built enough of a gap over ninth place Great Britain to secure their place.

"Unfortunately we didn’t nail our detail in today's games," Manenti said after the fourth place finish.

"It’s a real dampener to finish in that fashion but we played some of the top teams in Fiji, France, New Zealand, South Africa and Ireland and in most cases we played some excellent Sevens.

"Our defence was fantastic. The things we’ve been working on showed great improvements. We continue to grow and work towards the greater goal of the Olympics."

The Women's side are already locked into the Madrid Grand Final, sitting second on the same points as New Zealand as one of seven teams secured. The eighth and final spot will be decided at the last regular season round in Singapore, with current eighth seed Great Britain holds a two point lead over ninth-seed Brazil.

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