Australia has won just one match of three on day one at the Paris Sevens, missing out on a place in the top eight for the first time since January's Wellington leg.
The Aussies struggled after the red carding of Liam McNamara, leaving them with just six men for much of the day.
His carding in the second game against Samoa sparked their downfall, with the Pacific Islanders ultimately besting the Aussies 21-14, turning the final game against Fiji into a must-win to advance to the quarter-finals.
Despite losing Sevuloni Mocenacagi to the sin bin in the first minute of the game, which briefly evened the on-field numbers, Fiji produced some of their streamlined offloading to score two tries in the first half.
Charlie Taylor ran in one for Australia and it was one converted try the difference at the break with the score at 14-7.
Fiji added three tries to that total in the second half while the Aussies could manage just one through Henry Hutchison and when the final siren sounded Fiji had secured second place in the pool standings with a 31-14 win.
Samoa finished the day undefeated in Pool D although Russia managed to hold it to a 19-19 draw in the final round of the day.
Aussie coach Andy Friend was disappointed with the lack of coherence in the team on day one and will be looking for improvement for the final three games.
“It was a day of frustration. On the whole, as a team, we didn’t function well and that’s something we need to get right for tomorrow,” he said.
"We’re out of the Cup quarter-finals which is disappointing so the focus and target now is to win three games tomorrow and get ourselves back into that top eight for London.”
Australia will face Japan in the Challenge Trophy quarter final at 5.44pm AEST.
The first day of competition in Paris produced a few surprising results most notable of which was Fiji losing to Samoa in the first game of the day and then South Africa going down to a rejuvenated Scotland.
The Scots in fact went on to defeat the Singapore champions Canada in their second game and ended the day undefeated, topping Pool A.
England ended the day undefeated as did New Zealand which finished with a convincing win over Singapore runners-up, USA, who to that point had looked impressive.
The quarter-finalists for day two are Scotland, South Africa, New Zealand, USA, Samoa, Fiji, England, and France, in its best finish for the season in front of a very vocal home crowd.
Paris Cup quarter-finals
Scotland vs Fiji
England vs USA
Samoa vs South Africa
New Zealand vs France
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