By Paul D. Bowker | May 12, 2019, 7:45 p.m. (ET)
The U.S. women's rugby sevens team huddles at the Canada Sevens on May 12, 2019 in Langford, British Columbia.

 

The U.S. Women’s Rugby Sevens Team is one step closer to Olympic qualification – and one miniscule step remains.

The U.S. defeated France 26-5 to win the bronze medal on Sunday at Canada Sevens in Langford, British Columbia. The win moves the U.S. into second place in the season standings and 20 points ahead of France in the race to clinch Olympic spots.

The top four teams at the end of the season lock down Olympic berths and there is just one HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series tournament remaining, in Biarritz, France, on June 15 and 16.

By simply showing up and starting play in Biarritz, the U.S. would collect one point and lock down an Olympic spot.

The U.S. received 16 points for finishing third Sunday, boosting it into second place by two points ahead of Canada. New Zealand is in first place. Australia is in fourth place.

The U.S. women have already achieved the best season in program history. Sunday’s finish marked the team’s fourth medal in five tournaments. They have won the bronze medal at the last three tournaments.

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Lauren Doyle, Kristen Thomas, Kristi Kirshe and Kayla Canett each scored tries for the U.S. in the bronze medal match as they dominated France quickly and early in the match. Doyle began the scoring in the seventh minute and the U.S. had two more tries in the next three minutes.

It was the team’s second victory over France in two days. A 12-0 win over France on Saturday was one of three wins in pool play on the first round of the tournament.

The Americans defeated host Canada 12-7 in the quarterfinals but lost to series leader New Zealand in the semifinals, 26-12.

Paul D. Bowker has been writing about Olympic sports since 1996, when he was an assistant bureau chief in Atlanta. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.