Text, Picture and Video: World Rugby
Twelve months ago France reached their first-ever Cup final on the HSBC World Rugby Women's Sevens Series and on Saturday they created another piece of history at the HSBC Kitakyushu Sevens with a maiden victory over New Zealand at the 22nd attempt.
France had pushed New Zealand close before but they were truly inspired in this Pool A decider and very clinical, scoring on all five of their visits to the Black Ferns Sevens' 22. Anne-Cécile Cofani scored two of these tries with the defending champions unable to get out of their own half for long periods of the match due to the French pressure.
Les Bleues' reward for ending New Zealand's 38-match unbeaten run on the series – and 50 matches in the pool stages dating back to 2016 – is a Cup quarter-final against Ireland, while the Black Ferns Sevens face Pool C winners USA after the Women's Sevens Eagles also won all three matches on day one.
Canada will face Russia in the opening Cup quarter-final at 10:30 local time (GMT+9) on Sunday after they edged Australia 17-14 in the Pool B decider thanks to Kaili Lukan's unusual winning try. The other quarter-final pits Australia against England, the Pool C runners-up.
In the Challenge Trophy semi-finals, Spain will face China before hosts Japan tackle Fiji.
Earlier in the day at the Mikuni World Stadium, New Zealand had beaten Japan 43-0 in their opening match to equal their own record of 37 consecutive victories on the series that was set between April 2014 and May 2015.
A 17-17 draw with Russia in their next outing – their first since stalemates with Russia and Canada in the inaugural series event in Dubai back in November 2012 – had ended that winning run before France handed New Zealand their first series defeat since Australia beat them in the Sydney Cup final in January 2018. This meant the Black Ferns Sevens failed to top their pool for the first time since Atlanta in 2016.