The Qantas Australian Men’s Sevens side has recovered from an indifferent start to safely progress to the Cup Quarter-Finals after Day One at the Glasgow Sevens in Scotland.
And Michael O’Connor’s young charges have been handed the ultimate test after being paired with Series-chasing New Zealand, which kicks off later tonight (8.58pm EST).
The Aussie Men's Sevens side hasn't beaten the Kiwis since Dubai in December 2011, and O'Connor said: "At some stage, we have played them [New Zealand] enough, the penny has to drop. It is always a great challenge when we play them, they are one of the toughest sides to play.
"They can send out their B side and it will still be tough. It will be an enormous task but this is why we play the game."
Australia confirmed its place in the next stage after a thumping win over the United States in the final game of Pool D. A Jesse Parahi double, Cameron Clark, Peter Schuster, Con Foley and skipper Ed Jenkins all crossed over to seal a comfortable 34-14 win over the Americans.
Tries from Jesse Parahi, Greg Jeloudev, Nick Malouf, Peter Schuster as well as Afa Pakalani – who scored just five seconds after coming on as a substitute – secured a 36-7 win over Spain to put Australia’s tournament back on track. The Series cellar-dwellars had earlier caused a major upset when they saw off the USA 17-7 in its opening fixture.
The green and gold’s campaign in Glasgow got off to a shaky start after suffering defeat to an inspired host nation at the Scotstoun Stadium in the West End of the city. Despite repelling a fast start from the Scottish, Cameron Clark split the opposition defence to touch down under the posts. However, Scotland – led by experienced skipper Colin Gregor hit back with tries from Scott Riddell, Gregor himself and Lee Jones to post the win (7-19).
In the other Cup Quarter-Finals kicking off on Sunday evening (AET), Fiji take on England, Scotland entertain South Africa while Canada play Kenya.
Australian Men’s Sevens results in Glasgow, Scotland, 3-4 May:
Australia 7-19 Scotland, Pool D
Australia 36-7 Spain, Pool D
Australia 34-14 United States, Pool D
Australian Men’s Sevens fixtures in Glasgow, Scotland, 4 May:
Australia v New Zealand, Cup Quarter-Final, (8.58pm EST)
4-5 May - 2055-0500 (Fox Sports 1)