Aussie men to meet Tonga in sevens final

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Aussie men to meet Tonga in sevens final

Australia will meet surprise-packets Tonga for a spot at the Rio Olympic Games after continuing their domination of the Oceania qualifying tournament in Auckland.

The Thunderbolts will start raging hot favourites to win the tournament final on Sunday afternoon after easily brushing aside Papua New Guinea 36-0 in their semi-final.

The six-try victory came straight after the Tongans pulled off a major boilover by upsetting arch-rivals Samoa 41-5 in the first semi-final.

Previously-unbeaten Samoa had been viewed as almost certain finals rivals for Australia at the start of the tournament but Tonga did their homework to undo their Pacific neighbours.

Australia thrashed Tonga 49-0 in their final pool game on Saturday but both sides left out some of their better players.

Thunderbolts veteran James Stannard said his world No.5-ranked team was confident but wouldn’t be taking the Tongans lightly as they aim to lock in an Olympic berth.

“I think they rested a few blokes yesterday for today,” he told AAP.

“But if we play our style and stick to it we should come away with what we’re here for.

“We’ve been pretty clinical in all our games but the next one is the one that counts.”

Victorian-raised teenager Henry Hutchison continued his eye-catching form in his international tournament debut as Australia dominated PNG in a one-sided semi-final – jumping to 24-0 at halftime.

The Thunderbolts earlier swept aside American Samoa 52-0 in their quarter-final.

Australia’s women’s team has already qualified for Rio.

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