The United States kept their women's Rugby World Cup quarterfinal hopes alive with a 30-17 bonus point win over Japan in Whangarei, New Zealand, on Saturday.

Beaten by Italy in the opener, the United States shrugged off a slow start to run over four tries in the second half of the Pool B clash.

Joanna Kitlinski, Alev Kelter, Elizabeth Cairns and Jennine Detiveaux scored the five-pointers for the Americans, who will look to seal a place in the last eight with victory over Canada on Oct. 23.

"We came here to have a performance today ... The girls showed up and I'm really proud of them," U.S. captain Kate Zackary said.

"They knew how important that second half was.

"We love the cross-border battle (against Canada) and it'll be even more sweet here in New Zealand."

Megumi Abe, Hinano Nagura and Komachi Imakugi crossed for the Japanese, who were thrashed by Canada in their opener and have not won a World Cup match since 1994.

Japan started brightly as scrumhalf Abe finished off a set play from a 5-meter lineout with a try in the fifth minute.

Gabriella Cantorna slotted a penalty for the United States but the Japanese held a 5-3 lead at halftime after saving a try with brilliant maul defense in front of the posts.

The Americans emerged after the break with renewed vigor, and hooker Kitlinski burst over five minutes into the half.

Nagura snatched back the lead for Japan six minutes later but Kelter crashed over in the 55th minute to nudge the United States ahead again.

From there, the Americans put the foot down over the tiring Japanese.

Loose forward Elizabeth Cairns ran onto a deft grubber kick before crossing in the 62nd minute and winger Detiveaux sealed the bonus point with her try eight minutes later.

Imakugi's late effort was the standout try of the match, however.

With four minutes left on the clock, the jet-heeled winger left the small crowd roaring in delight as she swooped on a clearing kick from behind the halfway line and sliced through the Americans on a jinking, 55-metre run.