Sam Myers has scored in the final minute to hand Australia a 17-12 win over Kenya and an unbeaten record on the first day of the world series rugby sevens tournament in New Zealand.
Following mixed performances in wins over Portugal, 19-12, and Canada, 26-22, the under-strength Thunderbolts saved their best for the unbeaten Africans.
Trailing 12-7 at halftime, they moved level when Greg Jeloudev grabbed his second try.
A 12th successive win over Kenya was clinched when Myers fooled the defence with an outrageous dummy and scored down the blind side.
Australia are guaranteed to face a difficult quarter-final on Sunday, against the loser of Saturday’s final pool game between hosts New Zealand and world series co-leaders South Africa.
Australia were beaten quarter-finalists in the first two legs of the world series, losing to respective eventual champions Fiji and South Africa.
They have left several key players at home this week, including regular skipper Ed Jenkins and attacking maestro Cam Clark, to prepare for next week’s fourth round in Sydney. Regulars Nick Malouf, Pama Fou and Pat McCutcheon are injured.
The speedy Jeloudev is their most-experienced player and enjoyed a fruitful day, scoring a double against Canada, who threatened to snatch victory when crossing for two late tries.
It took a comeback to beat the Portuguese, who led 12-0 at halftime. Hugh Hutchison, playing his second tournament, bagged two tries before Tom Lucas snared the match winner.
Newly appointed head coach Andy Friend was watching on from the Westpac Stadium stands as interim coach Scott Bowen took the reins.
Friend takes charge in Sydney, when he is expected to have the services of Wallabies playmaker Quade Cooper.