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Unbeaten NZ earn sevens quarter-final spot

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 29/05/2016
Kayla McAlister in action for New Zealand © Getty Images Kayla McAlister in action for New Zealand

New Zealand have earned a quarter-final spot against hosts France in the final round of World Rugby's women's sevens series after remaining unbeaten in pool play.

The New Zealanders dominated their opening two games against Russia and Japan but were pushed hard before edging Canada 19-17 in their final pool match.

A Portia Woodman hat-trick highlighted New Zealand's opening 32-0 win over Russia, with Kayla McAlister, Ruby Tui and Terina Te Tamaki also crossing.

Tui stepped up with a hat-trick of her own in the Kiwis' 40-0 win over Japan, while Woodman, McAlister and Kelly Brazier added to the convincing tally.

McAlister also featured against Canada with two first-half tries which gave New Zealand a 12-5 lead at the break.

Brittany Benn levelled the scores soon after the restart before Woodman crossed again, Katarina Whata's conversion proving key when Benn's second try went unconverted.

After a slow start to the season, New Zealand have finished runners-up in last two rounds in the United States and Canada.

Champions in each of the first three series, New Zealand look set to hand their crown to Australia, who top the table by 12 points and need only to win their quarter-final against Spain to secure the title.

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