WRWC: Japan run Ireland Close
On Day 2 of the Women's Rugby World Cup, there was something of a surprise when Japan gave Ireland a fright in the closest of the six matches.
At one stage Japan's actually led 14-0 and it was only at the death that Ireland made the game safe and deprived the Brave Blossoms of a bonus point.
In the other close-ish match Canada beat Wales but the other matches produced big wins, the biggest if all for New Zealand, in many ways an unhappy result.
Results, Day 2
New Zealand vs Hong Kong, 121-0
England vs Italy, 56-13
USA vs Spain, 43-0
Canada vs Wales, 15-0
Ireland vs Japan, 24-14
France vs Australia, 48-0
These matches were played at University College Dublin. Round 3, the last round of pool matches, will also be played there after which the teams move up to Belfast for the semifinals and the final.
Results, Round 1
New Zealand vs Wales, 44-12
Canada vs Hong Kong, 98-0
England vs Spain, 56-5
USA vs Italy, 24-12
Ireland vs Australia, 19-7
France vs Japan, 72-14
Fixtures, Round 3 - Thursday, 17 August 2017
There will be important decisions made in this round.
The decisive matches are New Zealand vs Canada in Pool A, England vs USA in Pool B and France vs Ireland in Pool C. The three winners will go into the semis while the best loser will make up the fourth team in the semis.
Canada vs New Zealand at Billings Park UCD
England vs USA at Billings Park UCD
Italy vs Spain at UCD Bowl
Australia vs Japan at Billings Park UCD
Wales vs Hong Kong at UCD Bowl
France vs Ireland at UCD Bowl
England maintained their 100 per cent record at the Women’s Rugby World Cup after scoring 10 tries for the second match in succession, securing a 56-13 victory over Italy to set-up a table-topping shootout with the United States next week.
Emily Scarratt, the world class centre leading the side in the absence of captain Sarah Hunter, led the way with two tries along with wing Lydia Thompson and full-back Danielle Waterman. Alex Matthews and Amy Cokayne helped establish a strong lead with tries before half-time, with Tamara Taylor and Amy Wilson-Hardy rounding out the rout.
Italy scored two tries in return and briefly made the match a contest when wing Maria Magatti crossed to make the score 12-8, but by the time No 8 Elisa Giordano powered over, England were 34-13 ahead and well on their way to a second bonus-point victory of the World Cup.
New Zealand racked up 19 tries in their own as they thrashed Hong Kong 121-0 - eight of which were scored by wing Portia Woodman.
The result falls short of the World Cup record, which is held by the Black Ferns through their 134-6 demolition of Germany in 1998.
Portia Woodman, who crossed the whitewash six times in the first half and twice more in the second half, is now the tournament’s top try score ahead of Canada’s Magali Harvey and England’s Kay Wilson, while the victory was completed tries scored by Theresa Fitzpatrick 2, Carla Hohepa, Charmaine McMenamin, Chelsea Alley, Hazel Tubic, Sosoli Talawadua, Lesley Ketu, Kelly Brazier and Stacey Waaka.
Ireland snuck a second narrow victory in as many matches to keep their hopes of a semifinal place alive after beating Japan 24-14, just four days after edging past Australia by three points. At one stage Japan were leading 14-0, helped by a penalty try when they overcame the Irish at a five-metre scrum
Wales meanwhile saw their hopes of reaching the last-four end after suffering a 15-0 defeat by Canada, with the Canadians still yet to concede a point since arriving in Ireland.
USA enjoyed a convincing 43-0, bonus point win over Spain at UCD Bowl to set up the expected Pool B decider with England on Thursday.
Comfortable with ball in hand from one to 23, the inaugural World Cup winners showed real attacking intent and a terrific second-half performance yielded 31 points and five tries – three of them inside a clinical 11-minute spell.
Wing Naya Tapper showed the finishing skills that have made her such a hit on the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series in 2016-17 with a brace of tries, while Jordan Gray, dangerous fullback Cheta Emba and replacements Jessica Javelet and Hope Rogers added their names to the score sheet. Referee Claire Hodnett also awarded the Women's Eagles a penalty try and strong-running centre Alev Kelter kicked six points as well as having a hand in three tries.
Tapper’s first came after seven minutes of sustained USA pressure, the wing giving an early demonstration of her strength with a powerful hand-off on opposite number, Amaia Erbina. Nearly half an hour had passed before the USA struck again, No.8 Gray touching down from close range after her strong run from the base of a scrum instigated a breakout from deep.
Sara Parsons’ big tackles in midfield had been a feature of the half, but beleaguered Spain were given a boost on the stroke of half-time when the flank was sent to the sin-bin after she failed to retreat 10.
Two poorly executed line-outs saw Spain lose good attacking positions at the start of the second half, and Emba made them pay when she profited from Kelter’s offloads after the USA had been restored to their full complement of players.
Four minutes later, Tapper shrugged off the attention of three tacklers and was then driven over the line by Kelter after eventually being stopped just short. USA went 31-0 up at the start of the fourth quarter when Spain illegally collapsed a driving maul and conceded a penalty try, the first seven-point penalty try in WRWC history.
Oozing confidence, the Women’s Eagles continued to take the game to their overrun opponents and late tries from Javelet, after she pounced on Kelter’s well-weighted grubber kick, and barnstorming prop Rogers saw them rack up a record score against Las Leonas.
A dynamic France surged to the top of Pool C with wing Shannon Izar scoring a brilliant hat-trick in their emphatic victory over Australia in the final match of the day at UCD Bowl.
The Wallaroos, who had battled so impressively in their opening game against Ireland, struggled to live with Les Bleues, especially during the first half as the French hit top form with an irresistible combination of attacking verve and deadly opportunism.
The pacey Izar scorched through for her three tries in the space of the 25 minutes, the first coming off a brilliaqnt diagonal kick by young flyhalf Caroline Drouin, and a confident France continued to pile the agony on to a subdued Australia with further scores from lock Audrey Forlani and right wing Chloé Pelle.
Fullback Montserrat Amedée added two conversions and with captain Elodie Poublan and her side in almost total command it was 29-0 at the break.
Australia had their moments in the second half with wing Nareta Marsters almost getting through, but France kept on coming and after Pelle dived over for her second, openside flank and Romane Menager scored brilliant solo try from almost 50 metres.
There was still time for more and replacement hooker Gaëlle Mignot was on the end of a superbly constructed driving maul for try number eight. Audrey Abadie tagged on a couple of conversions and France had sent out a message that they will pose a serious threat to all the title contenders.
From World Rugby