Olympic champions Australia will now face France in the first Cup quarter-final on Sunday, before Sydney winners Canada tackle Russia, Fiji take on USA and series leaders New Zealand meet England for a place in the last four.



In the three pool deciders it was the higher ranked team that came out on top, but not without a real battle.

Canada once again emerged victorious in the North American rivalry with USA, captain Ghislaine Landry scoring twice – just as she did in their bronze medal victory in Las Vegas last month – to take her tally to 90 series tries. The sides had been separated by only two points at half-time before Canada broke clear with three unanswered tries to win 29-12 to top Pool C.

Australia then had their Fijian-born flyer Ellia Green to thank for a strong start against familiar opponents in the Pool B decider, scoring twice for a 12-0 half-time lead for the series champions. Fijiana, so impressive against Ireland and Brazil, couldn’t find a way through until the final few minutes when tries by Miriama Naiobasali and captain Ana Maria Roqica had Australia hanging on for a 17-12 win to preserve their perfect record.

New Zealand had suffered a huge scare against France in their second match, but the Dubai and Las Vegas champions regrouped and finished the day with a 22-7 win over Russia to confirm top spot in Pool A, Portia Woodman crossing for two tries to take her total to 138 in series history.

Brazil missed out on a first Cup quarter-final appearance of the season on points difference and will instead face Ireland again, having beaten them 27-10 in their final Pool B match, in the Challenge Trophy semi-finals on Sunday. The other semi-final pits Spain against hosts Japan.

Kitakyushu Sevens POOL A

A double from Alena Mikhaltsova, who led the DHL Series Performance Tracker coming into round four, helped Russia to an opening win, 26-5 over their fellow Europeans France. She was on the scoresheet again in their second match against hosts Japan where Russia’s great pace and power proved the difference. The home fans did have something to cheer about, though, when teenager Honoka Tsutsumi spotted a gap and went over for her country’s first try of the tournament in a 29-5 loss.

Series leaders New Zealand were a daunting first opponent for hosts Japan, who will return to the series as a core team in 2017-18, first up and Portia Woodman grabbed the first of ther side’s five tries in a 31-0 victory. The Black Ferns Sevens didn’t have it all their own way against France and were on verge of a first-ever series loss to Les Bleues until they played their get out of jail card with tries from Niall Williams and Tyla Nathan-Wong at the death securing a 19-14 win to confirm their quarter-final place.

France cast aside that last-gasp heartbreak to beat Japan 33-5 and secure a place in the quarter-finals as the best third-placed side, Jade le Pesq – one of their standout player in the Women’s Six Nations earlier this year – crossing for two of their five tries. Shouts of ‘Nippon, Nippon’ rang out around the stadium throughout, increasing in volume when Tsutsumi scored her and Japan’s second try of the day.