Though there’s still a day to go, the bitter taste of missing the Cape Town quarter-finals is already set to linger into the Sydney Sevens for Australia.
The side had set a goal of making the Cup quarter-finals in every tournament this season, but have already fallen short of that after a frustrating day in Cape Town, losing to the USA and New Zealand.
Their early blow means the best they can finish is ninth, and when the seeding is done for Sydney, which comes next, Australia are almost certain to be in a pool with major heavyweights.
Coach Andy Friend said the side was looking to finish ninth, the best it can now, but the difficulty it will create for their home tournament was not lost on him.
“That's what’s so disappointing - the next tournament for us is our home tournament, we wanted to be in the top eight, our goal was to be in the top eight for every tournament this year which we've now at the second tournament we haven't achieved that, that's really disappointing,” he said.
“We arrive back here tomorrow and we hope - the best we can do is come ninth, so we hope we come ninth.”
It wasn’t all bad for Australia, though the results look grim, with Simon Kennewell stepping up and Lewi Holland continuing to grow in his return from a long injury layoff.
Second-year Lachie Anderson is becoming a rock for the side as well, effective in general play and scoring some spectacular tries.
“SImon's a handful - he's a great player and when he moves onto the ball at speed, he's a handful to try and pull down,” Friend said.
“I thought Lachie Anderson similar, Lewi had a much-improved tournament first day, just about time in the saddle for Lewi so great to have him out there and as a captain he went pretty well.”
Australia will be waiting on the prognosis for a trio of niggles heading into day two, with Kennewell, Holland and Boyd Killingworth all carrying a concern, but Friend was optimistic about their fitness.
The Aussies kick off day two in their Challenge quarter-final, against Uganda, at 12:42pm local, 8:42pm AEDT.