Australia finish sixth at Kitakyshu tournament

Australia are left dejected after their quarterfinal loss to England in Japan. Matt Roberts/Getty Images

Australia have finished sixth after falling to New Zealand 26-34 in their fifth place final at Kitakyshu, Japan on Sunday night.

The loss in Kitakyushu on Sunday will leave the defending world series champions clinging to hopes of direct qualification for next year's Olympics with two rounds remaining.

England went on to make the final but effectively lost the match with the final kick of the game when they went down to Canada 7-5 at Mikuni World Stadium.

England looked on course to claim their first Cup title in three years after taking a 5-0 lead following Amy Wilson Hardy's try late in the first half.

But Canada dug deep and worked their way from one end of the field to the other before captain Ghislaine Landry found a gap in the defence to run round behind the posts to give herself a straightforward conversion to win the match.

Landry, playing in her 30th series tournament, made no mistake with the conversion to break English hearts and secure a first title for Canada since February 2017.

Canada's victory moved them to second place in the series standings with 66 points, now only six behind New Zealand who finished fifth in Kitakyushu. Bronze medallists USA have slipped to third as a result on 64 points with defending series champions Australia fourth with 56 and France fifth on 46.

The top four teams qualify automatically for Tokyo 2020.