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By AAP Media Unit
Australia have thrashed trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand 35-19 in their one-off Sevens Rugby international at Allianz Stadium on Sunday.
With two tournaments left on the World Sevens calendar this year, New Zealand are the No.1 side, with Australia back in sixth place.
However, the locals defied their ranking and led from start to finish against the heavyweights of rugby's Twenty20 equivalent, running away with the match five tries to three.
A penalty from the first ruck after the kick-off allowed Australia to open their account after just 38 seconds, with Jordan Tuapou producing a big left foot step to cross under the posts.
New Zealand hit back shortly after with Jack Wilson showing great speed down the right touchline, but from there it was all one-way traffic for the Australians wearing lime-green.
Captain Matt Lucas, brother of Queensland star Ben, scored right before halftime for a 14-7 lead, before former Gold Coast rugby league player Shannon Walker crossed for arguably the try of the match shortly after the break.
Despite his enormous potential, Walker's league career never got off the ground, but his brilliant individual effort down the left-hand touch-line where he beat three defenders before evading the fullback with a left-foot step, showed he has a promising future in his new code.
An intercept saw Lindsay Crook score next for Australia, and despite two late tries for New Zealand through Joe Webber and Charles Piutau, the home side put the result beyond doubt with a late touch-down to Lewis Holland.
The IRB Sevens head to Scotland for a May 5-6 tournament.
A healthy crowd arrived early to see the Sevens international, ahead of the showpiece Super Rugby fixture between NSW and the Crusaders on Sunday.
Lucas and New Zealand coach Gordon Tietjens both supported the concept and hoped there would be more one-off matches held before either Super or Bledisloe Cup games.
"I reckon the more games Australia and New Zealand play, the better," Lucas said.
Tietjens, the longstanding New Zealand sevens coach, agreed.
"I think it's awesome that you could put some formula together where you can see both forms of the game supporting each other," Tietjens said.
"To play it before a Bledisloe, that would be awesome, that would be great. It's just like all things, it's getting the timing."
Lucas said the win following the victory in the last World Series leg in Tokyo was another boost for the Australians heading into the last two legs in Britain next month.
"Scotland and London sevens have been our must successful tournaments over the last few years and coming off a win in Tokyo to beat the top dogs, that's a lot of confidence," Lucas said.
Sunday's win completed a great day for the Lucas clan, with the announcement earlier in the day that Matt's older brother, Reds' utility back Ben, had re-signed for Queensland and will push for a starting place next year with Will Genia heading to the Force in 2013.
"That's obviously the goal for Ben, it always has been, to push for a starting spot. He's looking forward to that opportunity," Lucas said.
08 MARCH 2014
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