Australia topple England in Sevens thriller
March 20, 2010
The Fijian fans led the party atmosphere at Adelaide Oval © Getty Images
England are the top-ranked side to miss out on the quarter-finals of the IRB Sevens World Series tournament in Adelaide, after host nation Australia beat them 17-12 on their way to a topping Pool D.
England's upset loss to United States on Friday night proved to be costly as all three rivals smashed lowly Niue, leaving the final match of the day, the 'Sevens Ashes', to decide the final make-up of the four-team group. Australia came from 12-7 down at half time to first equalise and then grab a late victory with second-half tries, sending the Americans through to quarters.
New Zealand joined Australia as the other flawless team in the group stages, topping Pool A thanks to crushing 26-0 and and 47-7 victories over Tonga and Argentina respectively.
Diego Palma's lightning acceleration was key to Argentina joining the All Blacks in the Cup quarter-finals, his double over Scotland relegated the northern hemisphere team to bottom place in Pool A.
South Africa and Samoa shared top spot in Pool B after their 12-12 draw. Japan was the nearest rival in that group after beating France 21-15 in what was effectively a consolation match.
And in Pool C, Kenya missed out on an all-important top two spot on points difference after finishing equal with both Wales and Fiji. Papua New Guinea were the absolute whipping boys, but the Pool composition came down to the final match between Fiji and Kenya, which the Pacific nation claimed 21-7.
All the teams will be back in action on Sunday as the competition splits into the four tiers of silverware. The quarter-finals for the top-tier Cup will see New Zealand face Samoa, Australia against Fiji, Wales challenge USA and South Africa take on Argentina.
Concussion, relegation and the mother of all surprises - it's the Monday Maul.