GOLD COAST, Australia — The Canadian women's rugby sevens team dug itself a hole early in the Commonwealth Games bronze-medal match and was never able to climb out.
Down 19-0 to England in the first half, the Canadians mounted a furious second-half comeback but fell short in a 24-19 upset loss Sunday.
New Zealand edged Australia 17-12 on Kelly Brazier's try in extra time to win the inaugural women's sevens gold at the games.
The New Zealand men completed the double late in the day, downing Fiji 14-0 for their fifth gold in six men's sevens events at the games. England beat South Africa 21-14 for the men's bronze.
The Australian women currently lead the World Series overall standings with 40 points, ahead of New Zealand, Canada and Russia at 30 points. England stands ninth at 10 points.
The Canadian women dropped into the bronze-medal game after losing 33-7 to Australia in the semifinal earlier Sunday. Canada was forced to play the powerful Aussies after losing their final preliminary-round game to New Zealand on Saturday to finish second in Pool A.
"I wish we could have finished this off and won bronze," said Canadian Natasha Watcham-Roy. "We had a disappointing loss against Australia. We played well in the first half but couldn't finish it off in the second half. It was actually the opposite this time around (against England). We came back in the second half but couldn't finish it off."
Canada started poorly when captain Ghislaine Landry's kickoff did not go 10 metres, turning the ball over to England. Things got worse when Landry was yellow-carded 81 seconds in for a deliberate knockdown of the ball on the ensuing England attack.
Canada leaked tries by Lydia Thompson and Deborah Fleming while Landry was off the field. A Claire Allan try made it 19-0 before Bianca Farella scored a try for Canada on the stroke of halftime. The English added a Jessica Breach try early in the second half to increase their lead to 24-5.
Tries by Charity Williams and Sara Kaljuvee narrowed the deficit to 24-19 as a desperate Canada turned up the intensity with Hannah Darling driving Breach into the turf with a bone-jarring tackle.
The comeback looked to be complete when Williams beat two defenders down the touchline late in the game, but her looping pass was knocked on by Julia Greenshields.
England retained the ball from the ensuing scrum and kicked it out to end the game when the hooter sounded.
"We got ourselves in a hole in the games against Australia and New Zealand," said Canada coach John Tait. "We never really got on the same page as them, which is a little bit disappointing for us. We know we are better than we showed today. The team will bounce back. One tournament does not define who we are."
The medal would have increased Canada's total at the games to 83, one more than the 82 earned four years ago in Glasgow. The men's basketball team collected medal No. 82 earlier Sunday in an 87-47 loss to Australia.
Canada had denied Britain the bronze at the Rio Olympics, winning 33-10 in the debut of rugby sevens. England returned the favour in the debut of women's sevens at the Commonwealth Games.
The Canadian men did not figure Sunday after going 1-2-0 on Day 1 of their competition with a win over Zambia and losses to Kenya and New Zealand. They now head to Singapore to defend the title they won last year there on the World Series.
The Olympic champion Australian women were seen as the team to beat here. They won the first two stops on their World Series this season without a loss and did not concede a point last time, outscoring Spain, Papua New Guinea, France, Russia and New Zealand 184-0 en route to the tournament title in Sydney.
Canada was third in Sydney and fourth in the season opener in Dubai.
The Canadian Press