Aussie women cruise, men perish in 7s Cup

Murray Wenzel

Australia's rugby sevens women's team has sailed into a World Cup semi-final against France thanks to a dominant day one in San Francisco.

But Australia's men continued their frustrating season, the French upsetting them in a 22-17 loss that knocked them out of contention for the top prize in their tournament opener.

The Olympic champion women's side didn't allow Spain a sniff in their 34-0 quarter-final win earlier on Saturday (AEST), 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."

Williams said it was so far so good in her return from an ankle injury suffered in April's Commonwealth Games campaign.

"In a do-or-die tournament that's what you've got to do," she said.

"It's absolutely unreal (to be back); I've found my niche and spot back in this team and girls have given me so much confidence to come out and perform."

Australia will play France in Sunday (AEST) 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 Sunday's other semi-final.

"Everyone talks about the rivalry there and we don't mind who we're playing, but it would be sweet to get over the top of them," Williams said of the potential duel with New Zealand.

Meanwhile Australia's men will be haunted by the hulking figure of France's Tavite Turaganibuli Veredamu, who scored twice in the upset win.

Relegated to the minor placings at the knock-out tournament, they will play Russia on Sunday morning (AEST).