France brought an end to a 38-game winning streak of New Zealand counterparts as they went on to claim the quarter-final berth in the opening day of the Kitakyushu leg of the Women's HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.
New Zealand entered the Kitakyushu 7s as firm favourites after winning the Glendale, Dubai and Sydney legs and they started the campaign off to a bright note with a 43-0 win over Japan but were tested by Russia as the game ended in a 17-17 draw with both the teams scoring three tries apiece. They were almost out of contention for the top eight when France riding on a double from Anne Cecile Ciofani stunned the Black Ferns with a 7-29 margin. Though France remained unbeaten and occupied the pole position, Russia came close but went behind New Zealand in point difference but their performance proved just enough to reach the top eight after being one of the two best-placed third side.
Canada impressed the group with 26-17, 42-19 and 14-17 victories over Spain, China and Australia respectively to finish at the top. Australia managed to bounce back with wins over Spain and China to become the second team from the group to reach the quarter-finals. Spain had a 31-26 win over China but could not reach the knock-out stage.
USA started the campaign with a 43-7 win over England and managed to beat Fiji 31-5 and Ireland 15-12 to remain at the top. England's 0-31 win over Ireland was pivotal along with a 15-35 win over Fiji as they ended second while Ireland despite two defeats reached the top eight spot after being the other best third placed team in the group.
Canada 7s v Russia 7s
USA 7s v New Zealand 7s
Australia 7s v England 7s
France 7s v Ireland 7s