Australia book Tokyo Olympics sevens berth

Sharni Williams, pictured at the Sydney 7s, has led Australia to a Tokyo 2020 Olympics berth.
Sharni Williams, pictured at the Sydney 7s, has led Australia to a Tokyo 2020 Olympics berth.

Australian women's rugby sevens coach John Manenti has promised his team will be ready to defend their Olympic crown after qualifying for the Tokyo showpiece in unconvincing fashion at the world series finale.

Australia's tilt in France was ended by world No.9 Spain in a quarter-final upset on Sunday, although the host's loss at the same stage meant they were assured the fourth and final automatic qualifying position for the Tokyo 2020 Games.

Australia responded to that loss by winning classification games against Russia and the hosts to place fifth in Biarritz.

Manenti said it was "just the beginning" for a new-look side that had battled without some of their biggest stars for a majority of the season.

"It's been a massive effort ... today didn't go the way we wanted it to, (but) this team has shown real character and grown since we started the series," he said.

"We know how hard the next year will be and the work we will have to put in to get the results we desire.

"We will be ready for that and every player and staff member is looking forward to adding to the next chapter."

New Zealand were crowned champions ahead of the United States and Canada on the overall standings, with all three nations automatically booking an Olympic berth alongside inaugural gold medallists Australia.

Australia will have their hands full repeating that Rio feat though, managing just two silvers and a bronze from six world series tournaments this year.

Their hopes of a breakthrough title ended on Sunday when toppled 15-14 by the Spaniards, before beating Russia 31-21 and France 24-10.

"Coming over the top of France, we had something to prove," captain Sharni Williams said.

"Obviously after qualifying for the Olympics, we had to stamp our foot and say we deserved that fourth position."

The Black Ferns had notched a staggering 48-successive wins when they beat Australia in Sydney earlier this season.

They've since come back to the pack though and a 26-10 grand final loss to the United States, the American's maiden world series title, is the latest sign of how the playing field has levelled.

LEADING FINAL STANDINGS

NZ 110 points, United States 100 points, Canada 94, Australia 86, France 70, England 50.

Australian Associated Press