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The New Zealand women’s seven rugby team received a huge scare in their quarter-final against the United States today.

The New Zealanders went into the match heavy favourites, but were pushed all the way and were mighty relieved to escape with a 5-0 win. They now meet Great Britain tomorrow afternoon in one semi-final. Australia and Canada play in the other.

New Zealand and the United States played during a warm-up camp in Florida and on that occasion the New Zealand women looked decidedly stronger.

But the Americans showed how much they had improved when they held the crack Australian side to a 12-12 draw this morning.

New Zealand’s only points of the quarter-final came through a try in the corner by Portia Woodman in the seventh minute.

After that it was a fairly even struggle. There was rising concern in the New Zealand camp when Tyla Nathan-Wong was yellow carded early in the second half for a late tackle. Restricted to six players the New Zealand side dug deep and repelled some strong United States challenges.

A relieved Kelly Brazier said afterwards the team was proud of its defence.

“We pride ourselves on our defence. We don’t often get to play at home and we say we protect the line like it’s our home. To hold on with six players – we’ve very proud.”

She said that though the 5-0 score was tight, “a win’s a win and we’ll take it”.

Rio 2016 Olympic Summer Games Kelly Brazier Portia Woodman Tyla Nathan-Wong
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