Silver, bronze for Aussie rugby sevens sides in Canada

Australia have fallen just short in returning to the winner's list on the World Rugby Sevens circuit, and breaking the recent stranglehold held by New Zealand.

The Kiwi women and men had won both titles at the last two combined tournaments in Hamilton and Sydney.

Australia's women pushed NZ all the way in Vancouver's Cup final, falling 19-12 and just shy of defending their crown in Canada.

The New Zealanders (98 points) have now assured their place at the 2024 Paris Olympics after a fourth consecutive title, taking them 14 points clear of Australia (84) in the standings.

USA (82) are third, France (66) fourth, Ireland (58) fifth and Fiji (48) sixth with only two women's tournaments remaining at Hong Kong and Toulouse.

The top four teams in the men's and women's series at the end of the season qualify automatically for the Olympics.

"We came here wanting to tick off qualifying for the Olympics and doing that and bringing a trophy back to New Zealand is really exciting," Black Ferns captain Sarah Hirini said.

Tim Walsh's side thrashed the United States 38-0 in their semi-final on Sunday to book a spot in the decider, but went behind to a Hirini try despite a miracle try-saver seconds earlier from Maddison Levi.

Madison Ashby levelled it a 7-7 but the Aussies conceded again after the halftime siren with Stacey Waaka touching down.

Jorja Miller extended New Zealand's advantage to 19-7 moments after Levi pulled off a crunching tackle, and a leading contender for biggest hit of the season.

Charlotte Caslick ensured a thrilling finish when she crossed following a great team build up, but Bienne Terita's kick from close to the posts went wide and the No.1-ranked team held on in the 21st final between the two sides.

Earlier, Australia's men's team won the battle for bronze against Ireland.

Having beaten NZ in the quarter-finals on Saturday, John Manenti's side were beaten 26-12 by France in their semi on Sunday.

Henry Paterson and Darby Lancaster, for his eighth try of the weekend, had Australia 10-5 up at the break and two more unconverted tries from Maurice Longbottom and Nathan Lawson rounded out a well-deserved 20-5 victory.

The Aussies had beaten Ireland 21-7 in group action to advance to the knockout phase.

Argentina, meanwhile, scored two late tries from kicks to beat France 33-21 for their second title this season.

New Zealand (120 points) have retained the overall series lead after finishing fifth, but after starting the tournament 21 points ahead of Argentina (108) their lead is now just 12.

Australia are fifth, equal with Fiji on 94 points and one behind France, but only 14 points separate third and ninth with tournaments remaining in Hong Kong, Singapore, Toulouse and London.

With AP.