Australia have been denied a third consecutive men’s rugby Sevens World Series final appearance, losing 28-19 to New Zealand in the semi-final of the inaugural Canada Sevens.
Australia finished third after beating Fiji 19-14 in the third-place playoff in Vancouver, where Quade Cooper’s up-and-down initiation continued.
He kicked a vital goal to give Australia the lead late, but also dropped the ball in space to hand Fiji a late first-half try.
“It was good to be out there,” he said.
“I’m feeling it right now … I’m going to search around now and see if I can find my lungs which I left out there.”
Cooper played the full match against Fiji, after only taking to the field with two minutes remaining in the semi-final and spending their 24-17 quarter-final win over Scotland on the bench.
In a positive sign just five months out from the Olympics, the tournament marked the first time Australia had reached three consecutive semi-finals since the 2002-03 season.
Australia remain fourth in the overall standings, with four events to play in the 10-legged series.