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Beaten Aussie 7s scrape through on top

Australia's women have finished top of their pool despite a loss to the USA and will play France in a quarter-final at the Sydney Sevens rugby tournament.

Beaten Aussie 7s scrape through on top

Australia's women have finished top of their pool despite a loss to the USA and will play France in a quarter-final at the Sydney Sevens rugby tournament.

SHARNI WILLIAMS of Australia in action during the Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Japan at Billings Park UCD in Dublin, Ireland.
SHARNI WILLIAMS of Australia in action during the Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Japan at Billings Park UCD in Dublin, Ireland. Picture:Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images

Australia have kept a safe distance from the might of New Zealand after a mixed women's rugby sevens opening day in which their fate had swung on the result of the last game in Sydney.

The Olympic champions finished top of their pool after two wins and a loss on Friday at a wet Spotless Stadium.


They will play France in a stand-alone Saturday quarter-final, the first time the teams have met since Australia were dumped last June from the World Cup semi-finals.

The winner of that clash will play Ireland or Spain in the semi-finals, with a likely finals clash with powerhouse series leaders New Zealand on Sunday the prize for the victor.

But their path to the decider would have been flipped on its head if China had pipped Spain in the day's final fixture.

Spain's 14-12 triumph ensured three teams were equal on points in Australia's pool, leaving the hosts on top via superior points, for-and-against.

A China win would have left the United States and Australia equal on top, but with the visitors in first place, given they had beaten John Manenti's women 19-12 in their final fixture.

That would've set up a quarter-final against Russia and a date with New Zealand in the semis.

Australia had earlier beaten Spain 19-0 and China 24-7 to take control of their group, only to leave the door open when the USA exposed them in the slippery conditions.

"We like to shift the ball around and it (the weather) didn't really suit," Manenti said, acknowledging they would need to rethink their tactics if rain continued on Saturday.

"It was hard to stop that momentum once they got it, but we worked hard to get momentum and I think, a couple more minutes, we might've scored again."

Manenti wasn't fazed by the late-afternoon loss, but knew they couldn't afford any slip-ups on Saturday.

"There's always good lessons when you don't win and the next game we play tomorrow morning, that's the real make-or-break game so we have to aim up there," he said.

"Our friends from across the ditch are in good form and the team to beat, but everyone else is fair game at the moment."

Australia's men, who are sixth after three world series legs, play their pool games on Saturday against Argentina, Tonga and South Africa.

AAP


AAP




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