England, Canada reach World Cup final

Canada and England will contest the Women's Rugby World Cup final in Paris on Sunday, after contrasting semi-final victories over France and Ireland respectively.

In Tuesday's first semi-final, England thrashed Ireland 40-7 to book their place in the final for the sixth time. Ireland looked composed in the opening stages, racing to a seven-point lead. Not to be outdone, England hit back with an unconverted try and a penalty to erase the deficit. Sensing the momentum had swung England's way, Ireland began to make multiple errors. The English pounced, running in four more tries despite Ireland's best defensive efforts. And while the Irish showed glimpses of the attacking play which led to their shock pool stage win over New Zealand, it was not enough and they failed to add to their tally.

Canada recorded a narrow 18-16 win over France in the other semi-final. In an evenly poised first half, nothing separated the sides, as they headed into the break tied at 6-6. France had not conceded a single try in the tournament, but two tries in quick succession, from Elissa Alarie and Magali Harvey, rocked the hosts. After missing the first conversion, Harvey nailed the second, giving Canada a 12-point lead.

With the crowd willing them on, France fought back, unlocking the Canadian defence twice. But both conversion attempts by Sandrine Agricole went astray and Canada progressed.

Earlier in the day, the Springbok Women registered their first win of the tournament, with a 25-24 victory over Samoa. It was a thrilling match-up and tries from flyhalf Zandile Nojoko, Rachelle Geldenhuys and Veroeshka Grain sealed the match for South Africa. On Sunday, Sephaka's charges will now face Spain in the play-off for ninth spot.

Photo: Jordan Mansfied/Getty Images

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