The cold reality of sevens left the University of Canberra women's side heartbroken on Saturday, but they will wake up full of hope of snatching a chance to play for the major prizes on Sunday.
The Canberra side was left lamenting missed opportunities and last-second fades on a day of frustration when Canberra hosted the national tournament for the first time.
They had to settle for a 12-12 draw against Bond University when they conceded a try after the siren and then suffered the same fate against the University of New England later in the day.
The results mean Canberra needs the University of New England and Sydney University to have a draw in the last pool game on Sunday morning to advance to the major stage of the competition.
Any other result will mean Canberra is in the bottom half of the play-offs on the final day of the two-day series.
"We had our chances. It comes down to the last split-second focus points," said Canberra coach Dave Grimmond.
"Our girls have come a long way in the last four or five games. It's disappointing, but we take a lot of heart out of where we've come from.
"We lost two games after the bell. Can you believe it? It's tough - a cruel game in sevens. It can go one way or the other, but you've got to make your own luck."
Canberra almost got their day off to a perfect start, but let a win slip against Bond University. Things got better in the next round, beating Sydney University 22-12.
But the real heartbreaker of the day was the loss against the University of New England. Canberra led 17-12 with no time left on the clock when the University of New England exposed a gap and scored a converted try to steal a win.
The opening day finished with a loss against the defending champion University of Queensland, but the 14-7 effort was impressive given the University of Queensland has lost just one game in the competition's history.
"It was very frustrating, but I think we really stood up against UQ. They really set the benchmark for this tournament, to keep them to 14-7 was pretty good," said Canberra's Australian representative Yasmin Meakes.
"We've definitely built on what we did in Hobart in the opening round, but we just turn off in the last two minutes and that's led to a few losses. There's still a lot more to build on and to come from us.
"If we don't finish in the top two of our pool, the goal will be cementing fifth spot again to be at the top [of the bottom half] just to let the top four teams know we're still pushing."
The University of Queensland was undefeated on day one, smashing the University of Sydney 26-10 and the University of New England 33-0.
Griffith University is undefeated on the other side of the draw, scoring an impressive 109 points in three games.
Round one:University of Canberra 12 drew with Bond University 12, University of Queensland 33 bt University of New England 0, University of Tasmania 24 bt University of Adelaide 22, Macquarie University 33 bt University of Melbourne 5.
Round two:University of Canberra 22 bt University of Sydney 12, Bond University 21 bt University of New England 19, University of Adelaide 21 bt University of Melbourne 5, Griffith University 42 bt University of Tasmania 0.
Round three:University of New England 19 bt University of Canberra 17, University of Queensland 36 bt University of Sydney 10, University of Tasmania 28 bt University of Melbourne 12, Griffith University 21 bt Macquarie University 19.
Round four:University of Queensland 14 bt University of Canberra 7, University of Sydney 21 bt Bond University 10, Griffith University 46 bt University of Melbourne 0, Macquarie University 39 bt University of Adelaide 0.
Sunday: Bond University v University of Queensland at 9am, University of Sydney v University of New England at 9.20am, Griffith University v University of Adelaide at 9.40am, Macquarie University v University of Tasmania at 10am. Finals from 11am.