Birmingham Commonwealth Games: Black Ferns Sevens stunned by archrivals Australia, will play for bronze

Defending Commonwealth Games and Olympic champions New Zealand have crashed out of gold-medal contention at Birmingham, stunned by archrivals Australia 17-12 in the semi-finals.

The two teams that have dominated women's sevens booked an early in the Commonwealth Games draw, after the Black Ferns Sevens topped their pool unbeaten, but the Aussies fell to Fiji in theirs.

In a rematch of the Gold Coast finalists four years ago, the Kiwis fell behind early, when Maddison Levi scored in the opening minutes.

Maddison Levi pulls Portia Woodman's hair at Birmingham
Maddison Levi pulls Portia Woodman's hair at Birmingham. Photo credit: Photosport

Veteran Portia Woodman responded to lock the scores at 5-5 and Theresa Fitzpatrick scored on halftime, converted by Tyla Nathan-Wong, to give New Zealand a 12-5 halftime lead.

But the Aussies struck back with Levi secured a try double soon after the restart and converted that into a hat-trick with less than two minutes remaining, as they swept back into the lead.

In the final seconds, the Black Ferns Sevens poured back onto attack and had a huge chance to salvage victory, when Levi was yellow-carded for pulling Woodman's long hair in a tackle.

With an extra player and an attacking scrum just metres from the tryline, the Kiwis were unable to clear the ball, allowing the Australians to pour into a ruck and smother possession. They knocked on, but with time up on the clock, the game was over.

Australia will face Fiji again for the gold medal, while New Zealand take on Canada for bronze, after beating the North Americans 45-7 in their tournament opener.

The news is better for the All Blacks Sevens, who have overwhelmed Kenya 31-0 in the men's quarter-finals, but will face old rivals Fiji in the semis - another gold-medal rematch from four years ago.