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By ARU Media Unit
The Australian Rugby Sevens have issued a serious warning to their competitors with a 40-5 thumping of Niue in their opening pool match at the International Rugby Sevens Adelaide on Friday.
Spurred on by a vocal home crowd, Australia ran in six tries to one to trounce the tiny island nation in the night’s final match, leaving the fans in anticipation of what’s in store on day two.
IRB Series debutant Ed Stubbs picked up a double while Kimami Sitauti bamboozled the Niue defence to score twice in the space of two minutes. Hard running forward Ed Quirk and speedy centre Brackin Karauria-Henry also picked up five pointers.
The youngest member of the Australian team, 17-year-old Liam Gill, who made his debut at Las Vegas last tournament, gave a standout performance, setting up two tries and showing serious intent with his hard-hitting defence.
Australia play USA on Saturday and finish their pool matches with a highly –anticipated clash against England, who they are yet to beat this season and trail on the Series points table by four points.
Coach Michael O’Connor said he was pleased with the way Australia have kicked off their Adelaide Sevens campaign.
“That was a good solid start and I’m happy with that, we got through with no injuries,” O’Connor said.
“I was particularly pleased with the restart, James Stannard’s kicking was spot on and the young guys really got up for it, I thought Eddie Quirk and Liam Gill in particular were great in the air.
“Overall it was a very sound performance, but Ii think we can improve on it.”
Wales, meanwhile, scored a huge upset in Pool C when they piled on 12-unanswered points in the second half to rally for an important 17-12 victory over Pacific Island heavyweights Fiji.
“We are delighted with the win, it’s been coming for a long time,” Wales captain Jevon Groves said.
“We’ve pushed some top teams in the past and this shows we mean business. It’s one small step here in.
“We have a big game tomorrow against Kenya and to get a win against them would show we are a top team and we can compete. We need to beat them to progress and it would make a big statement. I’m really looking forward to it.”
England, who sit just ahead of Australia in fourth on the IRB Sevens World Series standings, suffered the biggest upset of the night when they were beaten by a hard-running USA side 24-21.
In Pool B, Samoa beat France 33-12 while South Africa steamrolled Japan 40-0. Kenya dominated PNG in Pool C action, running out 27-7 victors.
Argentina saved face with a last minute try and a wobbly conversion to get them over the line 19-17 against Tonga, who have been under the tutelage of former Wallaby great David Campese.
Day two action kicks off at Adelaide Oval at 2.15pm (CST) and highlights of the day will be shown on Fox Sports.
Pool A: New Zealand 31 bt Scotland 0, Argentine 19 bt Tonga 12
Pool B: Samoa 33 bt France 12, South Africa 40 bt Japan 0
Pool C: Wales 17 bt Fiji 12, Kenya 27 bt PNG 7
Pool D: USA 24 bt England 21, Australia 40 bt Niue 5