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Australia go undefeated on opening day of Singapore Sevens

16 April 2017

RUGBY SEVENS: Australia has finished Day One in Singapore undefeated with a 19-7 victory over Argentina in the final Pool C game of the day.

Charlie Taylor scored the opening try with sheer pace and determination to outrun the opposition.

Argentina scored in reply through Franco Sabato to have the score level on 7-7 at the break.

Simon Kennewell ran straight up the middle of the field early in the second half to score his third for the tournament.

A yellow card to Nick Malouf for a high tackle with less than two minutes to go may have made the Aussie bench nervous but when Henry Hutchison sealed the victory with his 50th career try in the dying seconds of the game, it was all smiles.

Coach Andy Friend was very pleased with the team’s performance on the first day.

“I was really, really pleased with the boys today. The first game was all about defence and I thought we defended really, really well,” he said.

“In the second game, that was some of the best attacking rugby I’ve seen us play and the last game was all about guts and determination.”

But Friend has no illusions about what the men will face on Day Two.

“We just have to front up, it’s Quarter-Final football and it’s a brand new day,” he said.

The win may have come at a cost though.

James Stannard did not play the final game having suffered an injury to his nose following a head clash in the second game against Kenya. 

Ed Jenkins went down heavily in the second half of the final match and was assisted from the field. He has dislocated his shoulder.

Both players will take no further part in the tournament.

Tom Lucas limped off the field in the closing minutes of the game with an apparent knee problem and will be monitored overnight.

Australia will play South Africa in the quarter finals on Sunday following a surprise outcome in Pool B where England, having lost its opening game of the day to France, bounced back at the end of the day to defeat the Series leader in an epic battle which ultimately decided the pool standings.

The eight teams to progress to the quarter finals are Fiji, Canada, England, South Africa, Australia, Kenya, USA and New Zealand.

Australia vs Kenya

Australia has won two from two at the Singapore Sevens with a 29-7 victory over Kenya in their second game on Day One.

This win all but assures the Aussies of a quarter-final berth with just one game to go.

Building on the solid form from this morning against Samoa, the Aussies performed well across the field showing strength in tackling and at the breakdown which restricted Kenya’s game from the start.

John Porch scored the opening try within the first minute with a clean run to the line.

Henry Hutchison then put down the first of what would be his three for the game, taking him to a career total of 49 tries.

His second saw Australia go to the half-time break with a 17-0 lead which he extended by another five points early in the second half.

Kenya broke through Australia’s defence for its sole try with a strong run up the sideline by Nelson Oyoo eliciting memories of the performance which won them last year’s Singapore title.

Liam McNamara ultimately drew a line under the 22 point Aussie victory with a last minute try.

A small concern for Australia will be the condition of stalwart James Stannard who was taken from the field with a bloody face in the second half.

Australia vs Samoa

Australia has won its first Pool C match at the Singapore Sevens defeating Samoa 19- 12.

The first-up win for the Aussies marks a good start to the second tournament of the Asian leg of the World Series.

Off the back of a Bronze medal finish in Hong Kong, Australia looked to be full of confidence as it was challenged at the breakdowns by Samoa in a very physical contest.

Simon Kennewell got Australia on the scoreboard first but that was quickly answered by Samoa Toloa after a lineout error by the Aussies resulted in a turnover.

Lachie Anderson scored his 15th try in the Series, gathering the ball off a chip kick from John Porch and running it over the line with ease to have Australia 14-7 up at the break.

Samoa struck back early in the second half through former captain and sevens veteran Faalemiga Selesele who stretched to the line under heavy tackle pressure.

Unfortunately for Samoa, Selesele had to then leave the field with a suspected knee injury.

Australia hit back again through Simon Kennewell for his second which ultimately sealed the victory.

The win was not without errors from both sides but it gets the Aussies off the mark on Day One with what was a solid performance overall – especially with strong performances from both the former and current captains, Ed Jenkins and Tom Lucas.

Rugby.com.au

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