America’s women fell in the semifinals of their own Rugby World Cup Sevens, losing an entertaining game to New Zealand at AT&T Park in San Francisco, 26-21, after leading 14-12 at halftime.
The men followed them out of the competition, losing their quarter-final to England, 24-19 in sudden-death overtime.
In the women’s event New Zealand went on to face France, surprise conquerors of the world series champions, Australia, in the final on Saturday evening. The USA and Australia would meet before that, in the bronze medal playoff.
The Black Ferns, who had not conceded a point until meeting the USA, duly went ahead with a slashing try from Michaela Blyde. But two tries by the Eagles wing Naya Tapper turned the scoreboard around, the second involving a neat step past Portia Woodman, one of the leading players in the world game.
As American errors and infringements increased, Ruby Tui, Gayle Broughton and Woodman scored the next three tries, Tui and Broughton from long range, securing New Zealand’s passage to the final. The USA fly-half Lauren Doyle got up from a tackle for a smart try that closed the gap to five as the clock ticked to zero.