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Aust men into Sydney sevens quarters

NZN 4/02/2017 Warren Barnsley

Australia's men have recovered from a loss to New Zealand to secure a spot in the Sydney rugby sevens quarter-finals.

The hosts succumbed 26-14 to the Kiwis in the pool stage at Allianz Stadium on Saturday, but convincing subsequent wins over Scotland and Papua New Guinea were enough to place second in group C.

Australia will meet Wales, who finished atop group B thanks to victory over reigning Olympic and world champions Fiji, in a knockout clash on Sunday.

Needing victory in their final pool match against PNG, Australia endured the worst possible start by conceding a try from the opening play when PNG's Emmanuel Guise intercepted at halfway.

Australia hit back two minutes later when Henry Hutchinson barged over, and tries to Charlie Taylor, James Stannard and Simon Kennewell were enough to see off the minnows' challenge.

Earlier, a Tim Anstee hat-trick in the first half helped Australia to a 43-14 win over Scotland.

"We talked after our first game about our work rate off the ball," coach Andy Friend said after the PNG clash.

"We pride ourselves on being unrelenting and we lost that battle in the first game. To me, that was everything.

"In the second game, we got in front of the game and I though our defence worked really well. Our defence - we shut them out."

The home side need a high placing in Sydney to keep in touch with the world series leaders, with Australia sitting eighth in championship standings after three events.

Sunday will be Australia's first quarter-final appearance since the Dubai world series stop in December.

Friend said the Sydney tournament was wide open for any of the quarter-finalists, but Wales would not be easy-beats.

"I just thought they (Wales) were very physical," Friend said.

"I thought they were strong up the middle of the park. I thought they carried strongly and with intent."

In other quarter finals, New Zealand face Fiji, England play Argentina and the United States meet South Africa.

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