Qantas Australian Men’s Head Coach Michael O’Connor is relishing the opportunity for his young charges to take on series leaders New Zealand in tomorrow’s Cup Quarter-Finals in Tokyo.
“The boys will have no problem getting up for that game,” said O’Connor. “We had a good opening day with the pool coming down to a tight clash against England. We made a few restart errors but overall, it was a solid first day.”
Australia were paired with our Trans-Tasman rivals after being pipped at the death by a fast-finishing England side despite leading for long periods of their Pool D clash.
A Greg Jeloudev double – his fifth and sixth try of the weekend so far – appeared to set Australia on their way. England livewire Dan Norton scored a long-range try to half the deficit before Jesse Parahi restored the two-try advantage when he powered over the line after more good work from Jeloudev. However, three tries in four second half minutes gave England an advantage they would not surrender as they held on (24-21) to top the pool.
Australia’s Sevens campaign in the Prince Chichubu Memorial Ground got off to the perfect start against Spain when skipper Ed Jenkins touched down after three minutes to register the 62nd try of his IRB World Series career. A Cam Clark double and a score from the in-form Greg Jeloudev secured a comfortable 28-7 win.
A Greg Jeloudev hat-trick helped Australia to a nail-biting win over Scotland. The Scots, much improved after being brushed aside by an impressive England unit in their opening game, gave Australia a real test. Experienced winger Andrew Turnbull gave Scotland an early lead before Jeloudev capitalised on a poor re-start to level proceedings.
Two more tries from the 23-year-old gave Australia a commanding 19-7 lead. Turnbull scored again for Scotland before Allan Fa’alava’au latched on to a Cam Clark to break away and put the game to bed. A late score from the inspired Turnbull sealed his own personal hat-trick but it wasn’t enough as Australia claimed the points with a 26-19 win.
O’Connor took time out to praise the performance of Sydney University’s Greg Jeloudev, the joint-top points scorer after day one in Tokyo. “Greg had a good day and showed everyone just why he was the leading try scorer in the Shute Shield last year.”
In the three remaining Cup Quarter-Final ties on Sunday, England will play the dangerous Canadians, South Africa will play the United States while Fiji will play Kenya.
Qantas Australian Men’s Sevens results in Tokyo, Japan, 22 March 2014: Australia 28-7 Spain, Pool D
Australia 26-19 Scotland, Pool D
Australia 21-24 England, Pool D
Australia v New Zealand (Cup Quarter-Final), 12.28pm AEDT on 23 March
Sunday, 23 March: 1050-1830 (Fox Sports 1), 1830-1920 (Red Button)