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NZ women's sevens third in series finale

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 29/05/2016

The New Zealand women's sevens team will go to the Rio Olympics without a tournament win under their belt this season after placing third at the final world series tournament in France.

Winners of the first three world series, New Zealand finished a distant second behind Australia, who won their semi-final in Clermont-Ferrand on Sunday 14-5.

Australia went on to lose the final 29-19 to third-ranked Canada while New Zealand found some form to beat England 22-5 in the play-off for third.

New Zealand haven't beaten Rio favourites Australia for 15 months and were let down in the semi-final by unforced errors, one of which allowed Shannon Parry to open the scoring.

Emilee Cherry ran nearly the length of the field soon after the break to put Australia 14-0 up before Portia Woodman scored a late consolation.

Woodman scored all three tries in the 19-12 quarter-final win over France, her second hat-trick of the tournament after using her speed to carve up Russia during New Zealand's unbeaten run through pool play.

The winger was also on the tryscorers' sheet against England, joining Kelly Brazier, Kayla McAlister and Ruby Tui.

Australian only needed to reach the quarter-finals to snare their first series crown.

They won the three opening tournaments Dubai, Sao Paulo and Atlanta while England won the fourth leg in Vancouver.

New Zealand were consistent, reaching the semi-finals in four of the five tournaments. They advanced to finals in Atlanta and Vancouver.

Coach Sean Horan has always stressed preparing for the Olympics was his priority this season rather than winning a fourth world title.

He will finalise his squad for Rio in June.

FINAL STANDINGS: Australia 94, New Zealand 80, Canada 74, England 74, France 60, United States 46.

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