The Qantas Australian Men's Sevens team has set up a lunchtime Quarter-Final date with hosts New Zealand on Saturday after finishing second in Pool C at the Wellington Sevens.
Victories over Wales (36-5) and Portugal (29-0) earlier in the day secured qualification for the Cup Quarter-Finals before Fiji defeated the Aussies (14-5) late on the opening day to take top spot in the group in front of a vibrant crowd at Westpac Stadium.
Australian Sevens Head Coach Geraint John said: "It was disappointing to lose the last game against Fiji but our number one priority was to reach the top eight. I think the day showed where we are at as a team at the moment. We're competitive and we're no easy match for anyone.
"I thought we showed a great attitude to keep our opposition to just five points in the first two matches - in that second game we really wanted a '0' to our name. We started the day well but obviously came up short against Fiji - we had a fair bit of possession in that second half against them but there was a lot of passion between both sides and there wasn't much clean ball from the contact area.
"We'll recover, rest and sleep tonight and review New Zealand ahead of tomorrow. They are obviously a very good side, they are at home and will be tough opponents for us."
Australia kicked off the Wellington Sevens in impressive fashion with a comprehensive win over Wales. There was to be no repeat of the nail-biting encounter at the Commonwealth Games last July as tries from six different players sealed the win for John's well-drilled outfit. Pama Fou, Ed Jenkins, James Stannard, Lewis Holland, Cameron Clark and Con Foley all dotted down to open Australia's campaign with a win. An early second half try from Craig Price proved in vain for the Welsh.
The Aussies followed up their win against Wales by booking a place in tomorrow's Cup Quarter-Finals with a controlled victory against Portugal. Jesse Parahi scored after 19 seconds to open the scoring before James Stannard raced clear on the right to extend Australia's advantage. Pama Fou was the beneficiary of some smart work from Lewis Holland early in the second period to open up a sizable lead before Cam Clark and Greg Jeloudev added some polish to the final scoreline.
In the final pool match of the day, Fiji raced into a 14-point lead after early tries from Semi Kunatani and Samisoni Viriviri. However, a brave defensive display from the islanders kept a rejuvenated Australian side at bay for the majority of the second half. Cameron Clark scored after the full-time siren but it wasn't enough for Australia.
Aussie Sevens stars Pama Fou and Jesse Parahi were both substituted early in the game against Fiji with minor knocks but Geraint John confirmed it was a precautionary measure with Day Two in mind.
Elsewhere in tomorrow's Cup Quarter-Finals, surprise packets USA will play Scotland, Kenya take on South Africa and Fiji will meet England.
Fans can catch all of the action from Finals Day at the Wellington Sevens by tuning into FOX SPORTS 2 on Saturday from 9.50am AEDT.
Qantas Australian Men’s Sevens results in Wellington, New Zealand, 6 February:
Australia 36-5 Wales, Pool C
Australia 29-0 Portugal, Pool C
Australia 5-14 Fiji, Pool C
Qantas Australian Men’s Sevens fixture in Wellington, New Zealand, 7 February:
Australia v New Zealand, Cup Quarter-Final, 12.31pm AEDT