It was a tough and long wait to see if Australia would be the last qualifier with New Zealand, Canada and the USA taking the first three spots on Saturday.

It was an edge of your seat quarter-final between Australia and Spain on Sunday morning in Biarritz.

Spain raced out to a 5-0 lead before Australia was able to get two back through Charlotte Caslick and Ellia Green ahead of halftime. However, Spain came out firing in the second half with the team scoring twice to take a 15-14 lead with two minutes left.

Unfortunately, Australia couldn't find a try as the clock ran down and were headed to the fifth-place play-off.

"Obviously it didn't pan out the way we wanted it too, we wanted to be in that gold medal match but it wasn't the case," captain Sharni Williams said.

However, it felt like a long wait to see whether or not Australia would receive automatic qualification for Tokyo 2020 with France still yet to play their quarter-final against Canada. 

If France won, they could get the necessary points to push Australia out of the qualification spot but Canada was able to overcome the hosts which meant they couldn't finish higher than fifth.

It saw Australia finish fourth in the World Series standings.

"It's absolutely awesome, it's the things you do to try to get out there and qualify, the sacrifices, and it's not just about the girls here playing but the girls back home and all the staff, so it's really exciting," Williams said.

"Everyone talks about defending that title and it would be absolutely amazing.

"To go away to Tokyo is absolutely awesome."