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By ARU Media Unit
The Australian Rugby Sevens have defied injury woes to record two wins from three matches during the opening day of the Wellington Sevens, the third event on the IRB Sevens World Series.
Despite being without experienced Sevens campaigner Shaun Foley (ankle) and losing series regular Dominic Shipperley early on, Australia recorded wins over Papua New Guinea and Scotland but went down to Fiji at a sold-out Westpac Stadium on Friday.
The Australians head into the race for the Cup final intent on beating their best result of the IRB Series, achieved in Dubai when they claimed the Plate.
Australian Schoolboys winger Kimami Sitauti scored his first IRB Sevens try when he touched down in Australia’s opening 29-7 victory over the unpredictable Papua New Guinean side.
Australian Sevens captain Patrick McCutcheon proved he had recovered from a niggling groin strain and picked up a try while Bernard Foley, Eddie Quirk and Brian Sefanaia also picked up five-pointers.
Brackin Karauria-Henry set the tone for Australia’s 24-7 victory over Scotland, racing away for two tries. Australia’s leading try-scorer Clinton Sills touched down for his 12th try of the series while halfback James Stannard also chimed in for a try and two conversions.
Fiji were the biggest hurdle in Pool B and the Pacific Islanders proved to be a formidable side, downing the inexperienced Australians 38-7 to cruise into the finals undefeated as Pool B champions.
Stannard scored Australia’s only points of the high-scoring encounter as Fijian speedsters Seremaia Burotu and William Ryder both claimed doubles.
Australia face New Zealand in the Cup quarter-final on Saturday, after the hosts completed day one undefeated and recorded a solid 19-7 victory over reigning Series champions South Africa.
Australian Rugby Sevens proudly supported by the Australian Institute of Sport
The Qantas Australian Women’s Sevens team begins its quest for Olympic qualification in Rio with Dubai first up in the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series in December.