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Three from three as Aussie Sevens paired with Kenya in Cup Quarters at Twickenham
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ARU Media Unit
The Qantas Australian Men's Sevens side will play Kenya in the Cup Quarter-Finals after turning on the style to win all three pool matches on Day One of the London Sevens in front of a record Sevens crowd of 74,969 at Twickenham.
It was 23-year-old forward Sam Myers who was the unlikely try-scoring hero, scoring five times in three matches as Australia beat Japan, Spain and the much-fancied Fiji.
In what is likely to be his final tournament in charge of the Australian Men's team, a satisfied Head Coach Michael O'Connor said: "It's been a good tournament so far - three from three. I'm happy. The win against Fiji was amongst the finest this season, in fighting back from a 12-0 deficit to finish the way we did, the team displayed great team work and courage. We are looking forward to trying to replicate this performance through the knock out stages tomorrow.
"It's amazing what's happened here with the crowds. Every year it seems to get bigger and bigger. I think the first time I came here they got something like 5,000 people about 10 years ago. But to sell out is fantastic. The crowd gives it full support, they throw a few boos our way but it's all good and it's great fun."
O'Connor added: "It'd be nice to have a good second day but I'm certainly not getting ahead of myself. It's all knockout now. Day One is sometimes a bit easier as you can afford to maybe lose a game, but tomorrow we can't lose one. We get the bounce of the ball tomorrow and we're in with a chance."
Australia's campaign got off to a solid start with a 28-0 win over an enthusiastic Japanese side in Pool C. Afa Pakalani showed a devastating turn of pace to set up Sam Myers to open the scoring before skipper Ed Jenkins broke free on the right to touch down.
Jesse Parahi finished off a fine move involving Cameron Clark and Jenkins, while Lausii Taliauli shrugged off the Japan defence to score the first try of his World Series career to round out the scoring.
A Sam Myers hat-trick of tries was the highlight of Australia's impressive 36-0 win over Spain as Michael O'Connor's side once again kept the opposition scoreless. The fleet-footed Pakalani, Cameron Clark and Con Foley also scored to confirm Spain's relegation from the World Series core teams.
Day One ended with a meeting against Ben Ryan's Fiji. The Fijians, still harbouring ambitions of finishing second in the World Series standings, started quickly and led 12-0 three minutes minutes in after Emosi Mulevoro and Donasio Ratubuli escaped the clutches of the Australian defence. Tom Lucas began the revival when he crossed over late in the first half. Cameron Clark, substitute Peter Schuster and Sam Myers yet again scored in the second half to secure a 24-12 win and ensure Australia ended Day One with a 100% record - the third time this season they have won all three pool matches.
Captain Ed Jenkins said: "It was good to finish with a solid performance against Fiji to finish top. But we have been in this position before and we need to turn up against Kenya to progress further in the competition."
Elsewhere, in the final round of the 2013/14 HSBC World Series at the London Sevens, New Zealand sealed its 12th title in 15 years after qualifying from Pool A, ensuring they cannot be caught by second-placed South Africa in the overall standings.
In the other Cup Quarter-Finals kicking off Sunday evening (AET) at Twickenham, hosts England have been paired with France, South Africa take on New Zealand in a battle of the Sevens heavyweights while Fiji are up against Samoa. Should Australia defeat Kenya, then the green and gold will play either England or France in the Cup Semi-Finals.
Australian Men’s Sevens results in London, England, 10-11 May:
Australia 28-0 Japan, Pool C
Australia 36-0 Spain, Pool C
Australia 24-12 Fiji, Pool C
Australian Men’s Sevens fixture in London, England, 11 May:
Australia v Kenya, Cup Quarter-Final, (7.50pm EST)
Stream all of the action live from Twickenham via irbsevens.com