New Zealand impress at World Cup 7s as England crash out

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Members of the US team celebrate after their 38-7 win over China during their women's round of 16 games at the Rugby Sevens World Cup in San Francisco

Members of the US team celebrate after their 38-7 win over China during their women's round of 16 games at the Rugby Sevens World Cup in San Francisco

New Zealand's women kicked off the defence of their World Cup Sevens crown in ominous fashion on Friday, thrashing Mexico and Ireland to seal their place in the last four without conceding a point.

The 2013 champions, the hot favourites to win back-to-back titles in San Francisco, breezed through their opening knockout round games with something to spare.

Portia Woodman, the top scorer on the international sevens circuit this season with 43 tries, opened her World Cup account with a brace of tries in a one-sided 57-0 rout of Mexico at AT&T Park.

Captain Sarah Goss scored a hat-trick for the Kiwi women, who are aiming to become the first team to win back-to-back crowns.

After running in nine unanswered tries against Mexico, the New Zealand women then tore apart Ireland in a superb 45-0 quarter-final win.

This time it was Michaela Blyde's turn to get in on the try-scoring with a well-taken hat-trick.

Woodman also chipped in with another brace as New Zealand showed no mercy to an Irish team who had earlier eliminated England 19-14 in the first round.

New Zealand will play United States in Saturday's semi-finals. The US women progressed to the last four with wins over China and Russia.

The Americans opened with a 38-7 defeat of China in the first round before battling past the Russians 33-17 in the last eight.

In the other half of the draw, Olympic champions Australia powered into the last four with impressive wins over Papua New Guinea and Spain.

The Australian women downed Papua New Guinea 34-5 in the first round before demolishing Spain 34-0 in the quarter-finals.

Evania Pelite scored a hat-trick for the Aussie women who will now play France in the semi-finals.

France needed a last-gasp try from Caroline Drouin to snatch a 24-19 victory over a spirited Canada team.

Bianca Farella looked to have forced extra-time for the Canadians after diving over in the corner to tie the contest at 19-19 but France swept back with a long-range attack which ended with Drouin crashing over from a couple of yards out for the winning score.