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AUSTRALIA SET UP QUARTER-FINAL DATE WITH SOUTH AFRICA AT CANADA SEVENS
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The Qantas Australian Men's Sevens side have gone undefeated on day one to top their pool and set-up a Cup Quarter-Final clash with defending World Champions South Africa at the HSBC Canada Sevens.
Fielding the same 12 for the first time in his coaching career, Andy Friend’s side started their day with a match-up against the host nation where 30,000 fans packed BC Place in Vancouver.
The Aussies got off to the better start, scoring in the first 15 seconds before a spirited Canada mounted a fight back to lead at half-time. It was the Australians with the faster start in the second half, scoring twice before the hosts stole a late try at the death to see the game end in a 19-all draw.
The second match was against Uruguay who were the surprise packets of the group. The Aussies far too clinical for their South American opposition with skipper Lewis Holland scoring four tries in the 50-17 win.
The final Pool A game of day one saw them the in-form USA, and it was a rollercoaster of a match that saw two yellow cards and eight tries but it was a hat-trick to John Porch that proved the difference and secured Australia a 31-21 victory.
Qantas Australian Men's Sevens coach, Andy Friend said: "We had massive highs and massive lows today and that’s just the crazy part of Sevens rugby. I thought we did some good things against Canada but then we gave it away a bit.
“I thought some of the stuff against Uruguay was very, very good and then we leaked a few late tries to leave us really under pressure against the USA. We came home with an absolute wet sail though to finish with four unanswered tries.
“We know South Africa are the current World Champions, they gave us a touch up last weekend but tomorrow is a brand new day, we need to respect the footy, we need to make sure our defence is intact and if we do that then there’s no reason we can’t beat them.
“What we showed there today is that when we stick to our structures we are a very, very good football side,” Friend said.
Australia 19 drew with Canada 19
It was a tough ask to take on the host nation in their first match of the tournament but the Aussies got off to the perfect start with John Porch scoring with just 15 seconds on the clock, thanks to a sensational kick receipt by Lachlan Anderson. The Canadian side were desperate to get on the board in front of a noisy home crowd and it was Nathan Hirayama who did just that, ducking out from halfback and stretching over to give the hosts their first points. Canada then took the lead for the first time just before the break. Pat Kay with quick feet from a penalty before a lunge to the line got them 12-7 up at half time.
The second half saw the Aussies come out the stronger of the two sides. Young playmaker Ben O’Donnell benefitting from some great lead-up play from the forwards before finishing off a nice set-play to restore the Australian lead. He quickly had a double after skipper Lewis Holland put O’Donnell into space, running 60-metres to score untouched and put the side 19-12 in front. The Aussies looked set to break the hosts hearts before Canada pounced on a loose ball and John Moonlight ran more than half the field to score after full-time. Nathan Hiriyama then slotted the conversion to ensure the game finished 19-all.
Australia 50 defeated Uruguay 17
The Australians came out full of intent in their second game of the day. Veteran Jesse Parahi with a strong break off the kick-off and followed it up two phases later where he palmed away the Uruguay defence before offloading to James Stannard who finished in the corner. Skipper Lewis Holland did it all himself for the second, running around the outside of the Uruguayan defence before grubbering through for himself. O’Donnell crossed the line less than a minute later, working off a great pass from Tom Connor. Uruguay hit back with a try of their own shortly after but a double to Lewis Holland right on half time meant the score was 24-7 at the break.
The second half began just as the first ended as Holland regained the restart in sensational fashion to score untouched under the black dot to record his hat-trick. The inspirational captain then had a fourth when he worked off the back of a scrum to find himself in space, putting the lead out to 36-7. Powerful forward Tim Anstee and speedster John Porch were the next two to score as Australia continued to turn the screws and went out to a 50-7 lead. The match finished with two consolation tries to Uruguay, making the end score 50-17 to the Aussies.
Australia 31 defeated USA 21
It was a tense start to the final pool game on day one with the Aussies needing a win to make it through to the Cup Quarter-Finals. It was the USA who grabbed first points after speedster Carlin Isles found himself in space on the wing. Their lead lasted all of two minutes before veteran Jesse Parahi pinned his ears back from the 22 and carried a defender across the line to level the scores. Cue Perry Baker, the USA superstar sprinting in for two tries in the next three minutes to send his side to the half time break ahead 21-7.
It was the worst possible start to the second half as substitute Charlie Taylor was shown a yellow card for dangerous play off the kick-off but Australia rallied. While Taylor was on the sidelines they scored two tries, first through a clean set of heels from John Porch and second by a tenacious run from skipper Lewis Holland to get the scores back to 21-all. Perry Baker was then shown a yellow card minutes later as the Aussies looked to capitalise on the one-man advantage. John Porch doing just that as he made a beeline for the white stripe, barging through two defenders to put the Australians in front for the first time in the match.
Canada Sevens day one results
Qantas Australian Men’s Sevens
Australia 19-19 Canada
Australia 50-17 Uruguay
Australia 31-21 USA