Australia wins pool after sloppy Sevens start
October 12, 2013
Scotland's Michael Fedo clashes with Australia's Cameron Clark in their 21-21 draw © Getty Images
Australia will face off against Kenya in a rematch of last year's quarter-final after overcoming a sloppy start at the IRB Sevens World Series opener on the Gold Coast on Saturday.
Australia began their day by relinquishing a 21-point lead to draw 21-all against Scotland in their opening fixture but rebounded with victories over Argentina and Samoa to move into the last eight.
The 12-0 win over Samoa - clinched after a brilliant solo effort from ex-Gold Coast Titan Shannon Walker - also allowed the hosts to top pool D and avoid red-hot New Zealand in the last eight.
The defending world champions begun their campaign in imperious style, winning all three matches and scoring 95 unanswered points along the way to send out a warning to the rest of the competition.
Australian star Nick Malouf, who scored three tries on day one for the hosts, admitted avoiding the Kiwis was a bonus. But after Kenya defeated Australia in the quarter-finals last year on the Gold Coast, he knows the Africans can't be taken lightly.
"Pretty big job for us tomorrow," Nick Malouf told AAP. "Kind of looking for some redemption for last year, hopefully we can get the win."
"The Kenyans can just keep going, they're very clinical and got good structures. It'll take a fair bit of work to knock them off," Malouf added. "Although Kenya's not easy, it's probably slightly better than New Zealand."
Samoa's defeat means they now have the unenviable task of trying to topple the in-form New Zealanders, who are aiming to go one better after losing the past two finals on the Gold Coast.
Two-time defending tournament champions Fiji were far from their swaggering best on Saturday but still managed to top their pool despite being defeated by Wales in their final game.
Wales' 22-19 win ensured they went through to the quarter-finals at Canada's expense and they'll face South Africa for a semi-final spot.
It capped a tough day for Canada, who lost captain Nathan Hirayama to a broken leg in their opening match and would have gone to the last eight if Wales hadn't beaten the Fijians.
Fiji will take on England, who begun their day with a 54-7 demolition against Spain but fell 22-14 to South Africa to finish second in their pool.
Sunday's action begins at 10.30am AEST (1130 AEDT) with the bowl quarter-finals, consisting of the teams that finished third or fourth in their pools, before the cup quarter-finals get underway just before midday AEST (1300 AEDT).
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Jim Mallinder and Justin Burnell were sat on the same top table, but in different circumstances. Tom Hamilton reports on the Aviva Premiership season launch
Tom Hamilton reports back from the launch of the Guinness PRO12 where there is a renewed sense of optimism with all of the off-field changes to the league
So much for the great Australian revival, writes Greg Growden. It now has the potential of going off the rails after the capitulation at Eden Park
The latest Week in Pictures takes in photographs from the Rugby Championship, the Top 14 and the southern hemisphere domestic scene