Australia must overcome a red-hot Fiji in Sunday’s Cup quarter-final after losing 31-0 to South Africa in the Paris Sevens on Sunday morning.
It was a markedly different encounter between the fierce rivals to recent thrillers they have played out, with the South Africans dominating proceedings over a lacklustre Aussie side
After wins over Brazil and England to start the tournament, the final pool match determined which side of the draw Australia would enter in the knockout phase.
Seabelo Senatla had a brace before half-time, split by a Rosko Speckman five-pointer and the the Blitzbokkes sprinted out to a 19-0 lead at the break.
Speckman had his second in the ninth minute as the top pool spot began to slip out of Australia’s grasp
Nick Cummins looked to be finding his feet in the side, his contributions growing with every game he plays, while the return of Henry Hutchison added some spark.
Overall, though, the Aussies lacked energy against South Africa and simply couldn’t claw back the deficit.
A try to Springbok Francois Hougaard sealed the win for the Blitzbokkes.
Doubles from Pat McCutcheon and Con Foley sealed a 24-19 win over England earlier in the day, to secure their Cup quarter-final spot.
Trailing by two points at half-time, two second half tries to McCutcheon clinched the Australian victory.
That result assured them of a Cup quarter-final spot, with the South Africa match deciding the Pool C winner.
Australia will face Fiji in their Cup quarter-final at 8:19 pm on Sunday night (AEST).
The Pacific Islanders won their three pool matches by a combined 82 points and Australia will need to step up.
Samoa will take on South Africa, while Kenya faces France and New Zealand meets Argentina in the other Cup quarter-finals.