Australia’s woeful start to the Tokyo Sevens has put a big dent in their chances of early qualification for next year’s Rio Olympics.
Losses to lowly Portugal and Scotland in their first two pool matches on Saturday meant Australia – currently fourth in the series standings – dropped out of the Cup competition.
The top four teams at the end of this year’s World Rugby Sevens series earn automatic qualification for the Rio Games, while those missing out will get another chance via regional competitions and a world playoff tournament.
Australia’s shock defeats in Tokyo have opened the door for fifth-placed England, who are through to the Cup competition thanks to victories over Hong Kong and Wales, to leapfrog Geraint John’s team into the coveted top four.
Australia will still bank some points on Sunday from the Plate or Bowl competition and can make amends at the last two tournaments in Glasgow (May 9-10) and London (May 16-17) in the nine-round series.
Two tries from Duarte Moreira steered Portugal – 14th in the overall standings – to a handy 12-0 half-time lead and despite five-pointers to Cameron Clark and Nick Malouf after the break, Australia went down 12-10.
Another sluggish start cost Australia against Scotland, falling behind 14-0 before tries to Con Foley and Malouf levelled scores early in the second half.
However, Colin Gregor’s penalty goal after the siren gave the Scots a 17-14 triumph and capped a dire day for Australia.