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.
Quade Cooper’s slow initiation to the game also continued in Vancouver, as he spent just two minutes on the field late in the semi-final.
He failed to take the field at all in Australia’s 24-17 quarter-final win over Scotland, with coach Andy Friend opting to stick with in-form playmaker Lewis Holland.
Besides a brief resurgence before the halftime break, the All Blacks Sevens dominated the game as they repeatedly broke through the Thunderbolts’ line.
Australia, who rested senior players Ed Jenkins, Cameron Clark and Greg Jouledev for the tournament, trailed 14-0 early before two late first-half tries by Con Foley and Henry Hutchison reduced the gap to two on halftime.
However the game was decided when New Zealand scored twice after the break to lead 28-12 before James Stannard scored a consolation try for Australia with a minute to play.
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 will now play Fiji in a playoff for third spot, after Fiji lost their semi-final to South Africa 31-19.