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Team USA women’s rugby edged by mighty New Zealand in quarters

Rugby - Olympics: Day 2

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 07: Sharni Williams of Australia carries the ball under pressure against Richelle Stephens of the United States during the Women’s Pool A rugby match on Day 2 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Deodoro Stadium on August 7, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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For the second time in six hours, the United States women’s rugby sevens side came close to a seismic upset on Sunday in Brazil.

The U.S. and New Zealand staged a first half featuring brutal physicality, the turning point arriving when USA’s Jillion Potter dropped what could’ve been a long, open run to space. New Zealand took the ball and snared a try through Portia Woodman, but couldn’t convert and it was 5-0 at half.

The Yanks appeared to have a promising run midway through the second half, and the referee called his linesman over. A penalty was awarded, and the U.S. had a big chance to tie or win. They couldn’t convert.

New Zealand joins Canada, Australia and Great Britain in the semifinals, while the U.S. is into the fifth to eighth placing rounds. The Yanks get a rematch with Fiji.

Charlotte Caslick had a pair of tries in Australia‘s 24-0 over Spain, making the United States’ draw in the final group stage even more impressive.

Canada and France went to halftime level at 5, but the Canadians would score the only points of the second half to record a 15-5 win. Canada will face Australia.

The final match before the U.S. faced New Zealand was Great Britain and Fiji. The unbeaten Britain side scored a try 12 seconds into the match and were up 7-0 before the match was a minute old. Fiji answered once before halftime, but didn’t score again in a 26-7 loss.

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