Australia through to Olympic Quarter-Finals

Chris Ford Profile
by Chris Ford

Australia have scored a major upset to keep their Gold medal aspirations alive, beating South Africa 12-5.

Australia led 12-0 at half-time after tries to Jesse Parahi and Tom Cusack as they controlled possession at a wet and windy Deodoro Stadium.

It wasn’t a pretty second half as neither side asserted themselves but Australia did enough to win after a heroic James Stannard won a crucial penalty at the breakdown.James Stannard stepped up in the absence of Lewis Holland. Photo: AFP

"It was a big play in the game," Australia captain Ed Jenkins said.

"We went into that game knowing it was do-or-die and i thought there were a lot of tremendous defensive efforts by a few of the boys."

"Chucky’s (Stannard) one at the end was a big turning point and he’s picked up a few stitches for his efforts as well."

Australia are through to the quarter-finals after finishing third in their pool behind South Africa and France and will now face South Africa again in the quarter-finals at 7.30am AEST.

Progression was secured after Great Britain beat New Zealand, with the Kiwis scraping in by a single point via Fiji's win over USA.

Andy Friend's side were a different team than the one that struggled on day one, with a gutsy win over South Africa.

"Completely different side out there today from our boys and good to get some momentum heading into the quarter-finals," Jenkins said.

"It was a big change in our game today and defensively we fronted up in that game."

"We know it's no second chances from here on out so we’ll be giving it all we got."

A scrappy opening to the first half as neither side maintained control of the ball.

Australia eventually working their way into the game with a brilliant grubber behind from James Stannard and then quick ball from the ruck allowing Jesse Parahi to score under the posts.

Australia holding the ball through the phases and Tom Cusack capitalised soon after as he barged over from close range to make it 12-0 at the break.

The second half starting in the same way as the first as errors coughed up possession for both sides.

Seabelo Senatla scoring for South Africa out wide in their first real attack of the game to reduce the margin to seven points.

The game secured for Australia after a huge play from Stannard to force the turnover penalty at the breakdown, splitting his head open in the process.

Australia 12 (Tries: Parahi, Cusack Cons: Stannard)

South Africa 5 (Try: Senatla)