New Zealand, England, France and the USA qualified for the semi-finals after a dramatic match day three at the Women’s World Cup in Dublin.
England will play France in the first semi-final on Tuesday. New Zealand will battle USA later on the same day.
There were multiple permutations how teams could advance to the semis ahead of kick-off in the first match. New Zealand and England left nothing to chance, though, and scored big wins early in the day. There was an anxious wait for Canada, the USA, hosts Ireland and France.
In a top-of-the-table clash, the Blacks Ferns lashed Canada 48-5 to book their spot in the knockout stage as Pool A winners. New Zealand led 29-0 at the break, and while the Canucks did get on the board with a solitary try, the Kiwis were just too far ahead. Prop Aldora Itunu bagged a hat-trick for the winners.
Wales ground out a 39-15 victory against a gutsy Hong Kong, who led 10-5 after 30 minutes of play. Wales added six more tries, including braces by flank Sioned Harries and Jess Kavanagh-Williams to overcome Hong Kong’s challenge.
In Pool B, England beat the USA 47-26 to progress to the next stage. The women’s Eagles looked out of sorts, but fought back brilliantly to secure the four-try bonus point to keep alive their hopes of competing in the semi-finals. As soon as the USA claimed the bonus point, they effectively eliminated Canada from the race for the main prize.
In the pool’s dead-rubber, tries from Marina Bravo, Iera Echebarria and Anne Fernández de Corres lifted Spain to a 22-8 win over Italy.
France came out on top in their battle for supremacy against Ireland in Pool C. France made a blistering start and led 21-0 at the halfway mark, courtesy of a first-half brace by outside centre Caroline Ladagnous, coupled with a try from flank Romane Menager.
France emerged 21-5 winners after Ireland scored a consolation try in the last minute of the game. The result ended Ireland’s title aspirations and elevated the USA into the last four as the best runner-up out of the three pools.
In the only other match, fullback Samantha Treherne contributed 14 points to guide Australia to a 29-15 win against Japan.
England vs France
New Zealand vs USA
Photo: World Rugby