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By ARU Media Unit
Qantas Men's Sevens coach Michael O'Connor labelled his side "outstanding" after his side finished Day One of the Wellington Sevens with three wins out of three from a tricky-looking Pool D.
Victories over Tonga, Kenya and a dramatic last-gasp win over Australia's nemesis in Las Vegas - Samoa - sets up a mouth-watering clash with series competition leaders South Africa on Saturday.
"It was pleasing to get through our pool matches undefeated, and only conceding three tries all day," said O'Connor.
"The final match against Samoa was a classic rematch of our recent quarter final in Las Vegas, which we narrowly lost on the siren. This time the boys showed great composure to come back from a 12 -5 deficit to clinch the win with a Cam Clark drop goal penalty on full time."
He added: "Our decision-making and skill execution under pressure was outstanding."
Australia kicked off their campaign in Wellington with a comfortable 31-5 win over tournament minnows Tonga, a match notable for the return to try-scoring form of skipper Ed Jenkins right at the end.
Kenya, eighth on the HSBC Sevens World Series ladder, were little match for a dominant Australia in game two. Despite dogged defence from the Africans throughout, tries scored by Allan Fa'alava'ua, Con Foley, Greg Jeloudev and a solo effort from Peter Schuster secured a 24-0 win heading into the final group game.
Australia, left heartbroken by a late Samoa assault a fortnight ago in Las Vegas, this time turned the table when Cam Clark knocked over a penalty to claim a 15-12 triumph after the siren had sounded.
The Qantas Men's Sevens side take on the might of South Africa in the Cup Quarters, who could only finish runners-up in Pool A after somewhat surprisingly falling to England in their final group game. The game kicks off at 13:17 (AEST) and will be broadcast on Fox Sports 2. Matches are also streamed live at www.irbsevens.com