Australia then finished third after beating Fiji 19-14 in the third-place playoff in Vancouver, where Quade Cooper’s up-and-down initiation continued.
He kicked a vital goal to give Australia the lead late, but also dropped the ball in space to hand Fiji a late first-half try.
“It was good to be out there,” he said.
“I’m feeling it right now … I’m going to search around now and see if I can find my lungs which I left out there.”
Cooper played the full match against Fiji, after only taking to the field with two minutes remaining in the semi-final against NZ and spending their 24-17 quarter-final win over Scotland on the bench.
In a positive sign just five months out from the Olympics, the tournament marked the first time Australia had reached three consecutive semi-finals since the 2002-03 season.
New Zealand went on to beat South Africa 19-14 in the final, marking their third win of the season.
Australia remain fourth in the overall standings, with four events to play in the 10-legged series.
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