Ireland were beaten 29-14 by New Zealand in the quarter-finals of the Los Angeles Sevens as their season ended in disappointing fashion.

James Topping's side were punished for a poor start as New Zealand scored four unanswered tries during the first half to lead 24-0 at the interval.

Having failed to fire a shot in attack during the opening period, Ireland gave themselves a glimmer of hope after the restart when Terry Kennedy spotted a gap and darted under the posts.

However, Ireland’s comeback hopes were thwarted by some superb scramble defence by their opponents, even while down to six players.

New Zealand’s victory was confirmed when a powerful fend and offload by Amanaki Nicole put Lewis Ormond over in the corner, with Ed Kelly crossing for a late consolation try for Ireland.

Despite the loss it has been a positive campaign for Ireland, who reached the quarter-finals of all bar one of their nine HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series tournaments this season.

They finished second in Pool C after winning two of their three matches on Saturday.

Chay Mullins’ late try clinched a 14-12 victory over France in their opening match and he also bagged the last of their eight tries in a 46-12 demolition of Wales, as Andrew Smith and Aaron O’Sullivan both touched down twice.

Ireland were defeated 21-7 by Fiji in their final pool match to set up a date with New Zealand, who were one of four teams to qualify for the quarter-finals with perfect win records.

Australia, who crushed Kenya 40-14 in the quarter-finals, will be crowned World Series champions if they finish third. They face Fiji in the last four.

South Africa sit two points ahead of Australia at the top of the standings but they face a nervous wait after defeats to New Zealand and the USA in Pool B saw them miss out on a quarter-final place.

Fiji could also snatch the series if they take gold and Australia finish no higher than fourth.