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Black Ferns sevens fall to USA in dramatic semi-final of world series opener

The Black Ferns sevens will have to settle for a chance at third place in the first leg of the new world series, crashing to a 19-17 semi-final defeat to hosts USA in Glendale, Colorado.

After dominating the opening day, and impressing again in a 36-10 quarter-final demolition over Ireland, the Black Ferns sevens found themselves faced with a semi-final against their second seeded hosts, the USA.

The hosts wouldn't take long to seize the initiative, with Alev Kelter opening the scoring in the first minute. The USA defence would make themselves counted in the first half, until New Zealand struck back in the final moments of the first half through Stacey Waaka, the Kiwis trailing 7-5 at the break.

The Black Ferns then went ahead midway through the second half, Shakira Baker putting New Zealand ahead after 11 minutes.

However, powered on by strong support from their home crowd, the USA produced a finish to be proud of, firstly through Kristi Kirshe to level scores with two minutes to play.

Lauren Doyle would prove to be the USA's hero, saving a try at one end, before scoring what would prove to be the winner at the other.

The Black Ferns sevens hit back right at the death through Waaka once again, leaving Kelly Brazier needing to convert from the right flank to send the match to extra-time.

Brazier's effort was wayward though, sending the hosts into this afternoon's final where they will meet Australia. New Zealand meanwhile, will face France for third place.


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