Australia set up huge sevens quarter-final despite late brain snap

Just like their female counterparts, Australia's men have set up a salivating first-up clash against New Zealand in the quarter-finals of the Sydney Sevens after the team went through another day undefeated.

Following on from their 26-19 victory against the USA on Friday, Australia cruised past Canada 27-5 and then scrapped it out in a tight, 24-21 affair against Scotland to round the day out.

If Australia lost their final fixture, they were in danger of being bundled out of a home tournament.

Leading by three points after the siren, thanks to a brilliant 45-metre solo try from Tom Lucas, Australia's Tom Connor had a brain fade and was shown a yellow card for tackling a Scottish player while he was in the air.

The Scots had one last throw of the dice and with the benefit of hindsight, if they had managed to score, Australia would have missed out on the quarter-finals.

Coach Andy Friend expressed his dismay that Australia kicked short rather than long in the dying stages.

"I couldn't believe we kicked that kick," Friend said. "The siren has gone, we want to go long and challenge it. That's footy. I thought the six players that remained there held their composure and fought hard. They're a good side that Scottish side and it was a good one to win."

For the third Sydney Sevens leg in a row, Australia's men have qualified for the Cup quarter-finals and will now get a chance to knock off the Kiwis at 12:12pm on Sunday.

"Our highs were very high," Friend said. "I thought there was some really good rugby played but our lows . . . we just were ill-disciplined at the wrong times and made some really poor decisions defensively.

"You come into quarter-finals day [and play that way] and that's going to really hurt you. We're three from three, we must be happy with that. We're going to have to tidy up a few errors, though.

"There's a lot of character in this side and one of our traits we try to be is unrelenting and we were unrelenting today."

It wasn't all good news for the Australians with Boyd Killingworth ruled out of the tournament with a hamstring injury and Maurice Longbottom treated for an ankle complaint.

"The loss of Boyd is a big one for us," Friend said. "Moz [Longbottom] ??? we don't know how he's going to pull up.

"We were forced a little bit in that last game to change our starting side. Hopefully we pull up well tomorrow and we'll be good to go."

Australia could very easily have faced Fiji in a quarter-final save for a brain fade that saw Fiji snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

With just seconds remaining, New Zealand opted to kick the ball, instead of holding onto possession, which resulted in a Fiji scrum on their own line.

From there, with huge support from proud Fijians in the crowd, the Rio gold medallists somehow managed to score a try after the siren and claim a thrilling 19-17 victory.

It is barely an advantage getting to play New Zealand over Fiji, for both teams can strike at any time and will make Australia pay if they are not switched on from the get-go.

"If we get the football we've got to make smart decisions and try and keep that ball off them and penetrate when our options come," Friend said. "They're a very physical side ??? and they're going to be hurting from that defeat on the bell.

In other quarter-finals on Sunday, Fiji play USA, South Africa tackle Kenya and Argentina will lock horns with England.

This story Australia set up huge sevens quarter-final despite late brain snap first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.