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By ARU Media Unit
Australian Sevens captain Bernard Foley says his side is keen to improve on their opening performance in Dubai as the second event of the HSBC Sevens World Series gets underway at Outeniqua Park Stadium in George, South Africa on Friday (Saturday AEDT).
Seven rookies made their debut during last weekend’s first stage as Australia cruised through day one undefeated but were tipped into the bottom side of the draw by eventual Cup winners England.
With only seven seconds remaining on the clock in the quarter-final, Australia failed to claim possession from their kick off and watched helplessly as England spun quick ball wide and raced away to score the match-winning try.
Foley says the Aussie Sevens will be looking to improve on their sixth placing and collect as many series points as possible to take into the seven week break.
“I thought there were a lot of positives to take out of Dubai but there is a lot we can learn from as well,” Foley said.
“Inexperience let us down at times but coming into this weekend, everyone has had a taste of what it’s like to play at this level and will only be better for the experience.
“We’re definitely looking to improve on our performance this weekend and show the benefit of our time together.
“We recorded a good wins over Scotland and Wales last weekend and they’ll be looking to try and get one back, so we won’t be underestimating them when we meet in the early rounds.”
Australia have been drawn alongside Dubai opponents Scotland and Wales with France the only unknown side in Pool A.
Coach Michael O’Connor’s men recorded a 41-14 victory over Scotland on day one and then scored 26-12 win over Wales to reach the Plate Final, where they were defeated by South Africa.
Defending champions New Zealand will mount their challenge from Pool C.
Towering Australian winger John Grant will be looking to continue his golden form in the Republic. Grant is the second highest try-scorer on the circuit with nine tries, trailing only Cecil Africa (10) who will be dangerous in front of a home crowd.
While most of the squads are unchanged, reigning World Series champions Samoa will be without the experience of captain Lolo Lui and seasoned playmaker Reupena Levasa as both have succumbed injury.
Fox Sports 2 will broadcast highlights from the final day in George on Sunday from 6.30pm (AEDT).
The Australian leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series, staged in Adelaide on 2-3 April, follows on from the iconic Hong Kong Sevens as stop six on the eight-leg series which also visits South Africa, New Zealand, the US, England and Scotland. Tickets for the International Rugby Sevens Adelaide are on sale now at Ticketek www.ticketek.com.au.
Australia: Bernard Foley (captain), Hamish Angus, Trent Dyer, Shaun Foley, John Grant, Michael Hodge, Greg Jeloudev, Ed Jenkins (vc) , Tevita Kuridran, Jono Lance, Nicholas Phipps, Dan Yakopo
Qantas Australian Sevens player Shannon Walker will play his first tournament in over a year when he lines up for the National Indigenous side at this weekend’s National Sevens Championships in Narrabeen, Sydney.