Australia finish fifth at World Series opener in Colorado
The Australian women's rugby sevens World Series title defence is off to a rocky start after a heavy quarter-final loss to the US in the opening event in Denver, Colorado.
The Americans dominated the Australians to win 26-5 on Sunday and went on to reach the gold medal match before being crunched 33-7 by rampant world champions New Zealand.
The chastened Aussies rallied to claim fifth place.
They downed England 26-12 in their fifth place playoff semi-final then recovered from 14-19 down with moments to go against Ireland, drawing level with an Ellia Green try which debutant Samantha Trehereme converted for the win.
"Naturally we are disappointed that we didn't put ourselves in a position to be in the top four," said Australia coach John Manenti.
"But I'm impressed with the character we showed to bounce back and claim fifth.
"The USA wanted it more in that quarter-final and played in a style that prevented us from building consistent pressure.
"We didn't nail our execution in key moments and were forced to pay for it.
"We showed the way we could play against England and Ireland.
"Charlotte Caslick and Vani Pelite were in good form this weekend and it was good to see Samantha Treherne put out a good performance in her first time in the Aussie 7s jersey."
They will return to Australia to commence preparation for round two of the world series in Dubai in November.