RIO DE JANEIRO — New Zealand survived a tough encounter against an energized U.S. team to win their quarterfinal 5-0 and join world series champion Australia, Canada and Britain in playing off for the first Olympic medals in

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rugby sevens.

Rugby is back in the Olympics for the first time since the last 15-a-side tournament in 1924, this time in the condensed sevens format in Rio de Janeiro and with women’s and men’s medals at stake. The Australians rebounded from a surprising 12-12 draw with the United States in the last game of the pool stage to trounce Spain 24-0 on Sunday night and set up a semifinal match against Canada. The British advanced 26-7 over Fiji and then watched as semifinal opponent New Zealand struggled to put away the Americans. Portia Woodman’s try broke the deadlock for New Zealand just before halftime. The Americans dropped into the classification matches for 5th-8th places.