The Qantas Men’s Australian Sevens team turned the formbook on its head after producing one of its best performances of the 2013/14 HSBC Sevens World Series season so far to beat South Africa on day two of the Hong Kong Sevens.
The result sees Australia top Pool B ahead of the Springboks and sets up a Cup Quarter-Final clash against fast-improving Canada on Sunday (3.34pm AEST).
In conditions similar to those when the sides last met in Wellington in February, the Aussies played perfect wet weather Rugby, opting to play a territory game and choosing to kick and turn their opponents around at every opportunity.
Australia’s blistering start was rewarded when Greg Jeloudev outpaced the Springbok defence to cross over in the right corner. Skipper Ed Jenkins, earning an Australian record-equalling 29th cap this weekend in Hong Kong – charged down a Branco du Preez kick to score and give his side a 10-0 half-time advantage.
South Africa’s Seabelo Senatla was the benificiary of a favourable bounce to give Australian fans in the 40,000 crowd a nail-biting final 60 seconds, but the green and gold held on for a famous 10-7 win.
Qantas Australian Men’s Sevens Head Coach Michael O’Connor said: “I thought we played very well against an excellent side. We played with composure in conditions that were quite tricky. These boys continue to get better the more they play together and I’m looking forward to our game tomorrow.”
Earlier in the day, Australia secured its place in the last eight after comprehensively beating France 26-0. The match was notable for three French players being sin-binned in the second period for various offences as the side from the Northern Hemisphere wilted under pressure from Mick O’Connor’s young guns.
After a tight start in greasy conditions, Cameron Clark escaped the clutches of the French defence after a slanting run to touch down. Jesse Parahi added a second score early in the second half before speed-king Greg Jeloudev continued his red-hot form to score the 40th try of his World Series career. Sam Myers completed the scoring in the last minute of the game to seal the win.
In the other Cup Quarter-Final matches tomorrow, Fiji – the team to watch in Hong Kong so far – take on the United States, England have been paired with South Africa while New Zealand play Wales.
Follow the Qantas Men’s and Women’s Sevens teams with updates on Twitter @Aussie7s
Australian Men’s Sevens results in Hong Kong, 28-29 March:
Australia 28-14 Spain, Pool B
Australia 26-0 France, Pool B
Australia 10-7 South Africa, Pool B
Australian Men’s Sevens fixtures in Hong Kong, 30 March:
Australia v Canada, Cup Quarter-Final, 3.34pm (AEDT)
30 March - 1300-2245 (Fox Sports Plus Red Button: 1300-1850, Fox Sports 2: 1850-2300)