Men's Sevens ready for critical finals day

by Staff Writer

The warm up is over for the Australian men’s sevens team after a pool-topping performance in their Olympic qualifying tournament on Saturday, interim coach Tim Walsh says.

The Aussie team will face American Samoa in Sunday’s quarter-final, after wins over Nauru (62-0), Cook Islands (48-7) and Tonga (49-0) in the pool stages.

Only a tournament win will secure a Rio berth for Australia, with the next opportunity to qualify not until June 2016.

The Australians conceded just one try in the opening day of competition, in that 48-7 win over the Cook Islands.

In their other two matches, including against Tonga who was deemed their greatest pool threat, Australia kept clean sheets.

Captain Ed Jenkins set the tone for the side with two doubles, while Allan Fa’alava’au and debutant Henry Hutchison also nabbed a brace in the day’s opening match.

Walsh said there was still plenty of work to do for the knock-out stages despite some pleasing set piece showings.

“We only let in seven points and I don’t think we missed too many tackles,” he said.

“There’s still a lot to work on. Looking at the other pool, there’s some class players and there are some really tough opposition (in the finals).

“Day one’s done and it’s almost (just) warming up. Day two is when it really counts and we want to be peaking at the right time.”

While the Aussies are the favourites to take out the tournament, Walsh said they were well aware the job was not done yet.

“We’re confident rolling on and heading towards the final but we’re going to prepare accordingly for day two.”

The draw puts them on a collision course with Manu Samoa, who topped the opposing pool on day one and loom as Australia’s greatest opposition in the critical qualifying tournament.

Australia will face American Samoa at 9:50am AEDT, with the semi-final at 12:50pm and the final at 4:00pm.

All the action will be broadcast on FoxSports 4 - channel 505.

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