France's Tavite Veredamu shows his Australian rivals a clean pair of heels at the Rugby World Cup Sevens in San Francisco. Picture: Jeff Chiu/AP
France's Tavite Veredamu shows his Australian rivals a clean pair of heels at the Rugby World Cup Sevens in San Francisco. Picture: Jeff Chiu/AP

France ends Aussie men's Rugby World Cup Sevens dream

THE honeymoon is over for Australia's new men's rugby sevens coach Tim Walsh, who has been left to rue his side's simple errors in a disappointing early World Cup exit.

Australia fell at their first hurdle in San Francisco on Saturday morning (AEST), upset 22-17 by France in the knock-out tournament.

They will be haunted by the hulking figure of Tavite Turaganibuli Veredamu, who scored twice in the upset win.

Things looked up when Lachie Anderson latched on to a grubber for the game's first try.

But a follow-up five-pointer went begging and the game turned from that point.

France replied and then went ahead with the final play before half-time when Terry Bouhraoua dashed from inside his own half for a 12-10 lead.

Poor defence again hurt Australia in the second half but they still had a chance to win it, down by five with ball in hand after the hooter.

But a knock-on snuffed out the fairytale finish and any chance of a World Cup crown in a frustrating season.

"Everyone's hurting immensely, but you can't win games when you let through that many breaks, missed tackles and at the end there, we've got control of the game, got the ball and we turned it over," Walsh said.

"We're disappointed because that wasn't our best and errors there cost us."

Former women's coach Walsh took over from Andy Friend after April's Commonwealth Games, with the men having won the Sydney World Series leg earlier in the year.

Hamstrung by constant injuries, they've thrown up mixed results all year but entered AT&T Park with a healthy squad confident they could make a run for the title.

Instead they will play for the minor placings, with Russia their next assignment on Sunday morning (AEST).

"It sucks, it's horrendous," Walsh said.

"You work so hard and you want to get out there and perform for family, friends and country ... you give it everything and don't get the result, it hurts."

Defending champions New Zealand eased past Russia to begin their tournament positively, and England pipped Samoa 19-5.

World Series champions and Olympic gold medallists Fiji survived a first-half scare to run away from Japan 35-10.

- AAP



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