Sevens shocker! Aussies stunned by France at World Cup
AUSTRALIA have disintegrated in the second half to lose 19-12 to France in the semi-finals of the women's Sevens World Cup in San Francisco.
Leading 12-0 at half-time, the Australians conceded three tries after the break to end their hopes in heartbreaking style on Sunday (AEST).
Anne-Cecile Ciofani scooted around Emma Tonegato and crossed after the final hooter to break the deadlock and snatch victory over the world series champions.
Tries to Chloe Pelle and Fanny Horta had earlier lifted France back into the game.
The Australians simply lacked the possession to make an impact after the break, losing the battle of the collisions against the bigger French side. It was a different story in the first half when the Olympic champions had most of the ball at AT&T Park.
Evania Pelite scored a brilliant solo try, slicing through in the second minute to take her tournament tally to five.
Ellia Green bagged the second on the stroke of halftime after France's Marjorie Mayans had been shown a yellow card for a deliberate knock down.
It was a gutting result for the Australians, who weren't challenged on day one in wins over Papua New Guinea and Spain.
Coach John Manenti said his team paid for not being more clinical with their scoring opportunities in the first half.
In the second spell, they didn't adjust well enough to injuries to Green and Alicia Quirk while a couple of 50-50 calls didn't fall their way.
"But that's footy and you've got to respond to that. We'd made plans around all those sort of concessions," he said.
"It's obviously disappointing for our girls, who'd worked so hard."
Manenti praised France, who we said were big improvers this year and taught his team a lesson about breakdown physicality.
"The French were clearly coming in hard at that ball and we knew that they would because they've done it all weekend.
"We've clearly got to work hard at the breakdown and get better at that."
Australia will play off for bronze against the United States, who were beaten 26-21 by defending champions New Zealand in the second semifinal.
The Australian men's team were also upset by France, in the first round of the knockout format on Saturday (AEST), leaving them to play for the minor placings.