The Australian women’s sevens side is through to the semi-finals of the Women’s World Sevens Series tournament at Kitakyushu in Japan after a testing 19-12 win over France on Sunday.
Aussie head coach Tim Walsh tipped that this would be a difficult match to negotiate first thing on Day Two after his side had finished their Pool games undefeated and that’s the way that things turned out.
The quarter final was just over a minute old when the Aussies had to replace both Ellia Green and Evania Pelite, the duo's involvement for the rest of the tournament is in severe doubt.
The loss of Green is a huge blow and she hobbled off with an ankle injury and the Aussies will miss her pace on the outside and her work rate in defence if she can no longer contribute.
But one of the great things about this group is the fact that if one star is not there another steps upon and this time through it was Emilee Cherry, the 2014 World Rugby Sevens player of the year.
Cherry scored a nice double when France had two of their players off the field with yellow cards and the second of these marked her 100th try on the World Series circuit.
As well as the two early injuries the Aussies were rocked when weight of possession saw France score first but once the game settled down a bit the Australians were able to put Shannon Parry through to score under the post to make the score 7-5.
Halftime came at just the right time and Walsh was able to settle his charges down with the key message being to respect the ball in attack and to work hard on the inside in defence.
That was the way things panned out in the second stanza as the Aussies - through Cherry’s double - jumped out to what should have been a comfortable 19-5 lead.
But France had different ideas and managed to work the Aussie defence around and scored c lose to the posts to make the score 19-12 with about a minute to go.
The Australians thought were able to get through the final minute and skipper Parry put the ball into touch to signal the end of the game and make sure of a place in the semis.
In the other quarter final Canada signalled their intention here in Japan with a cracking 41-0 win over Russia. The Canadians will be the Aussies' opponents in the semi finals while Fiji will take on New Zealand.
The Australians had negotiated their way through Day One without a loss and headed into the quarter final against France after topping Pool B.
The Fijians got the closest to the Aussies on Day One but they were able to close out that game 17-12 with many of the “big guns” on the sideline resting up for the knockout rounds.
Tries: Emilee Cherry 2, Shannon Parry
Cons: Chloe Dalton 2
Tries: Guerin, Biscarat