Australia’s women’s sevens rugby team face a tricky finish to their quest for automatic qualification to the Rio Olympics following a dismal tournament in Canada.
Australia came seventh at the inaugural Canada Sevens in Langford, British Columbia on Sunday after being upset by Russia and then the United States.
Although they maintained third spot in the world series standings – needing to finish in the top four to book their tickets to Rio next year – the chasers closed in on the Australians.
Russia, who stunned Australia 17-12 in the Cup quarter-final, were the surprise packets as they won through to the final only to be beaten by New Zealand.
The Kiwis’ 29-10 victory meant they’ve won all four tournaments played so far this year and sealed their Olympic qualification.
France, England, the US, Russia and Canada – who are all in contention for an Olympic top-four place – banked more points than Australia.
Australia went down to the US 29-10 in the Plate semi-final and then accounted for Fiji 22-0 in the 7th/8th place play-off.
“It goes without saying that we’re all bitterly disappointed,” said coach Tim Walsh.
Two series tournaments remain in London and Amsterdam, both in May.
Teams that miss out on the top tour in the series can still qualify for Rio via regional competitions.
WORLD SERIES STANDINGS AFTER FOUR TOURNAMENTS:
1. New Zealand – 80 points
2. Canada 58
3. Australia 56
4. France 52
5. US 48
7. Russia 46
8. Fiji 24
9. Brazil 19
10. Spain 12
11. China 7
12. South Africa 6