Pearls off to flying start in Dubai

Emma Tonegato scored a hat-trick against South Africa.
Emma Tonegato scored a hat-trick against South Africa. Themba Hadebe

RUGBY UNION: The Australian women's rugby sevens team has continued its Olympic gold medal-winning form, making an unbeaten start to the World Series in Dubai.

The defending World Series champions defeated South Africa 38-5, Russia 20-7 and the USA 19-10 on day one of the opening tournament of the World Series.

The Pearls have now qualified for the knock-out stages and will face France on Friday (4pm AEST) for a spot in the semis.

Coach Tim Walsh was wary of the French threat.

"France will be extraordinarily tough. The quarter-final makes or breaks your tournament and we've had some terrific battles with the French,” he said.

The semis are on from 7.30pm Friday, with the final at 11.15pm.

The men's tournament begins on Friday afternoon, with the finals on Saturday.

Australia is in Pool D with Japan, France and Kenya.

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