Aussies rugby hopes hanging by a thread

2 months ago 22
PR Distribution

Australia's men's rugby sevens campaign is still alive after a topsy-turvy opening day, but a huge test awaits against New Zealand on Tuesday morning if they are to ensure a safe passage to the quarter-finals.

The Aussies were expected to easily account for South Korea on Monday night, and they did just that with a 42-5 victory in warm evening conditions in Tokyo.

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Dylan Pietsch runs away for a try against South Korea. (Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Lachie Miller scored two tries, while Maurice Longbottom, Dietrich Roache, skipper Nick Malouf and Dylan Pietsch also got over the line. Former Wallabies centre Samu Kerevi was at his damaging best in a rare appearance in the abbreviated form of the game.

Australia needed a win over the Koreans to keep their hopes alive of finishing in the top two in their pool – and thereby guaranteeing progression to the next stage of the tournament – following a 29-19 loss to Argentina earlier today.

But they now face the daunting task of having to knock over the classy All Blacks sevens team in their final pool clash which kicks off at 11.30am AEST on Tuesday.

If they lose to the Kiwis, Australia will need to rely on points differential as one of the two best-placed third placegetters in pool play to make the quarter-finals. It's why the big margin of victory over South Korea might be crucial.

Australia have not beaten New Zealand since the 2018 Singapore Sevens and have been on the end of a number of thumpings from the Kiwis, who are one of the favourites to win gold in Tokyo, this year.

New Zealand hammered Argentina 35-14 on Monday night to sit at the top of Pool A.

Australia's Lachie Anderson makes a tackle against South Korea. (Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Australia will rely on Kerevi to bring some physicality against the All Blacks sevens side.

It was only when Kerevi came onto the field against Argentina that Australia fought back from a horror start in which they let in four unanswered tries to be trailing 24-0.

Two tries from Josh Turner and some Kerevi class gave Australia a late sniff of victory before Argentina scored the last try of the game.

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