Kiwis avoid major upset against US to reach Olympic semis

Australia, Canada, Great Britain and New Zealand will contest the semi-finals of the first Olympic rugby sevens tournament in Rio.

After racking up 109 points in their first three matches, New Zealand had been held to just one Portia Woodman try, her sixth of tournament, when American flyer Jessica Javelet was taken down chasing a kick through.

New Zealand came through a low-scoring contest with the United States on Sunday to claim the last semi-final berth in the Rio 2016 women's rugby sevens competition.

Having lost their opener 52-0 to favourites New Zealand, the Lionesses needed a response in their second fixture but Caroline Ladagnous touched down the game's first try with Jade Le Pesq adding the extras for 7-0 inside the opening four minutes. Tylia Nathan-Wong was yellow carded and sent from the field for two minutes.

"We call it the honey-badger attitude, we stuck to it, [defended] well, were patient and we ended up getting away with the win". Ellia Green scored a try for Australia in her return to the pitch.

"But we're in medal contention, so (we're) excited". "And we're not happy with a bronze or a silver".

Rugby Canada team captain Jen Kish
Rugby Canada team captain Jen Kish

The third seeded Canadians, who were stunned 22-0 by Britain in their final pool match earlier on Sunday, recovered from a poor start against a fired-up French side to progress to the last four.

Tonegato scored a very late try for the world series champions and Dalton converted it after the full-time siren.

Celestine Masinde then etched her name to history books when she scored Kenya's first try at the Olympics where rugby sevens is making its debut with Janet Owino converting successfully for 7-7.

Brazil won its first game of the tournament, with Beatriz Futuro Muhlbauer capping the victory by diving under the posts for her second try of the match against Japan directly in front of the biggest section of local fans, triggering raucous cheering in the nearly half-full temporary 15,000-seat stadium. "I happened to be in the right place at the right time".

A bigger day two crowd had plenty to cheer about when Brazil posted their first win, a 26-10 victory over Japan.

  • Jon Douglas