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Dubai Sevens quarter-finalists confirmed after opening day of play

By AAP
(Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)

Australia were on the verge of defeating Olympic champions Fiji until a last-minute try from Iowane Raturaciri saw the powerful Pacific Islanders emerge as 17-12 victors at the Dubai Sevens.

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Australia had come from behind to lead 12-10 with time almost up on Friday but replacement Raturaciri came through with his maiden try in his first world series match.

Both teams had already qualified for the quarter-finals before their meeting, but defeat means that the Australians have been charged with the more difficult last-eight clash against South Africa, the defending Dubai and world series champions, on Saturday.

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Tries from Josh Turner and Ben Dowling had given the Australians the lead to answer an early score from Fiji’s Iowane Teba before the dramatic conclusion.

Earlier in the day, Australia had overpowered Canada 35-19 with five tries, and France 17-10 with three more to book their last-eight spot.

Fiji will face Kenya in the first quarter-final of the new series, with Argentina meeting Ireland and Great Britain tackling the United States.

South Africa won the only two 2021 tournaments in September in Canada against a limited field, and picked up from where they finished by brushing aside Ireland and Japan and hammering Britain 31-12.

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Britain beat Japan 17-12 only in the last minute after Robbie Ferguson dummied from a ruck and gave a pop-up pass to Jamie Barden to score.

Steve Tomasin converted his own last-minute try to rescue the United States in a 21-21 draw with Argentina.

The US had trailed by seven until Martin Iosefo broke from in front of his posts and gave Tomasin a 75-metre sprint to the Argentina posts.

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