Australia’s rugby sevens women’s team has sailed into the World Cup semi-finals thanks to a dominant day one in San Francisco.
But Australia’s men continued their frustrating season, losing 22-17 to France to be knocked out of contention for the top prize in their tournament opener.
Australia’s men will be haunted by the hulking figure of France’s Tavite Turaganibuli Veredamu, who scored twice in the upset win.
Things looked up when Lachie Anderson latched onto a grubber for the game’s first try.
But Australia lost their grip on the match either side of halftime and knocked on after the siren as they chased what would have been a match-winning converted try.
In contrast, the Olympic champion women’s side didn’t allow Spain a sniff in their 34-0 quarter-final win earlier, having already disposed of a plucky Papua New Guinea 34-5.
Australia’s defensive pressure meant Spain barely put an offensive phase together and Evania Pelite made the most of it with a hat-trick at AT&T Park.
Ellia Green was also at her best, busting two tackles on the way to a devastating first-half try for the reigning World Series champions.
Their dominance was enough to offset co-captain Sharni Williams’ wonky day with the boot, both from conversions and restarts.
“Those little one-percenters we could probably fix up,” playmaker Charlotte Caslick said.
“There’s a couple of missed tackles still, passes above heads and all of that, but come semi-finals time we’ll be on and ready.”
Australia will play France tomorrow morning’s final four after their last-gasp try was enough to beat Canada 24-19.
World Cup holders New Zealand lurk in the other half of the draw, having already shown why they are favourites and No.1 seeds.
The Kiwis, who beat Australia in extra time to win Commonwealth Games gold in April, opened their tournament with a 57-0 domination of Mexico.
They followed it up with a 45-0 drubbing of Ireland and await the United States in the other semi-final.