Aust face SA in Cape Town Sevens QF

Australia will play hosts South Africa in the quarter-finals of the Cape Town leg of the Rugby Sevens after going undefeated on the opening day.

Australia downed Portugal (45-0), Wales (21-14) and an in-form United States (26-21) on Saturday to top Pool C and set up the clash with South Africa, who have won the past two events in their home country.

“We had three good performances today,” Australian coach Scott Bowen said.

“We showed a real hunger to both save points and support our teammates when line-breaks were made.

“Everyone was willing to contribute to that hard work in areas that tend to go unnoticed.”

Bowen said it was “invaluable” for players who haven’t had much game time – including Tom Kingston, Stephan van der Walt and Boyd Killingworth – to get a good run in Cape Town.

The team is looking to build depth ahead of the sport’s debut at the Rio Olympics in 2016.

Australia fell to eventual champions Fiji in the quarter-finals of last weekend’s season-opening Dubai Sevens.

And Bowen knows beating South Africa at home won’t be easy.

“They are probably the best balanced team in the world,” the interim coach said ahead of Sunday’s finals.

“They have a wonderful mix of flair and power and are the complete package.”

In the other quarter-finals, series leaders Fiji play France, New Zealand meet Argentina and Kenya face off against the US.

South Africa and fellow favourites New Zealand were both handed shock defeats on day one but still managed to book a place in Sunday’s action.

The hosts lost 14-12 to Kenya in their second game but secured a quarter-final berth by beating England 10-0 in the last of Saturday’s 16 group matches.

It spared blushes for organisers after selling out the 55,000-capacity Cape Town Stadium for both days.

Injury-plagued New Zealand, who have never failed to make the quarter-final field, bounced back to beat Samoa 19-10 to finish top of Pool D despite earlier losing to 24-12 to Canada.

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