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Aust women finish fourth at Sydney sevens

NZN 4/02/2017 Warren Barnsley

Australia's all-conquering women's side admits they need to better deal with high expectations after a disappointing Sydney rugby sevens campaign.

The reigning Olympic and world champions finished fourth in their homecoming from last year's Rio Games, losing their last two matches at Allianz Stadium on Saturday.

The hosts were upset in a tight semi-final by tournament winners Canada, before being humbled 19-0 by New Zealand in their third-place play-off.

The United States were runners-up.

Co-captain Shannon Parry was "gutted" by the result, while her counterpart Sharni Williams said Australia's execution was below their best on a tough day in front of a home crowd.

"We just didn't really show up for the second day," Williams said after Australia was undefeated after Friday's pool stage.

"I think we handled it (the pressure) pretty well, but it was just those one-percenters where those passes that are normally crisp ... we couldn't even get a phase together.

"It's pretty tough in front of our family and friends. But we'll cop that on the chin and own that."

Earlier, the Olympic gold medallists were given a heroes' reception upon stepping out to a near-full Allianz Stadium.

Speedster Ellia Green was clinical for Australia in her return from shoulder surgery in Sydney, scoring early tries in both their quarter and semi-finals, while Rio stars Charlotte Caslick and Emilee Cherry toiled hard.

But after being crowned dual champions last year, Australia have now failed to win either of the first two world series legs in 2016-17, losing to New Zealand in the Dubai final in December.

Australian coach Tim Walsh said the side needed to come to terms with losing.

"They are going to make mistakes. That's life. You're not going to win everything all the time," Walsh said.

"We'd like to. But we've got to maintain that consistency and stay at the top.

"It's not the end of the world. It's a game we've lost. That's going to happen. We need to build on that and make sure we're continuing forward."

Australia sits second on the world series standings, behind New Zealand with legs in the US, Japan, Canada and France remaining.

Canada defeated the US 21-17 in the final for their first title of 2016-17.

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