England, Canada round out World Cup final four
SUNDAY QUARTERFINAL WRAP: England and Canada made easy work of their quarterfinals at the Women’s Rugby World Cup in Auckland on Sunday, ensuring the world’s top four ranked teams will contest the semifinals.
In wet conditions, England steamrolled Australia 41-5 before Canada were nearly as dominant in their quarterfinal, seeing off the United States 32-11.
The two winners will square off at Eden Park on Saturday, while defending champions New Zealand will face France in the other semi-inal after they eased past Wales and Italy respectively.
The final four have been a class above their rivals at the tournament and were barely threatened in the quarterfinals, where the average score across the four games was 42-6.
England retained the favourite’s tag with a power-packed display against the Wallaroos, with all seven tries scored by forwards, including a hat-trick to flank Marlie Packer.
However, no try sparked greater celebrations than the opener to captain Sarah Hunter, in a game where she became the most capped women’s Test player.
The veteran No.8 was playing her 138th Test, surpassing the previous record held by former England prop and long-time teammate Rochelle Clark.
“It’s been amazing, I’ve tried not to think about it too much – you don’t know what’s going to happen so I just wanted to get out on the pitch,” Hunter said.
“It’s a really special day and now I can sit back and enjoy it.”
Australia had no answer to the cohesion of England’s pack and the tactical kicking of flyhalf Zoe Harrison.
Those facets have been at the heart of a 29-match winning streak which has the Red Roses favoured to secure a third world title.
However, Hunter says they can’t get ahead of themselves.
“We’re now in the business end of the tournament and we’re going to have no easy rides along the way,” she said.
“We’ll look at this game and see where we need to work on and tidy up things.”
They will be challenged up front by world No.3 Canada, who scored two tries in each half, complemented by 12 points from the boot of captain Sophie de Goede.
De Goede said a team meeting on the eve of the match brought them together, as they reflected on the sacrifices made by many in what is effectively an amateur sport in Canada.
“We spoke a bit about what every person has gone through to get to this point,” she said.
“For every player to come out here and perform the way we did, I’m just so proud of this group.”
The US opened the scoring through a try to hooker Jojo Kitlinski but they failed to cross again as Canada’s superior driving play set up tries to forwards McKinley Hunt and Karen Paquin before half-time, when they led 12-8.
Backs Paige Farries and Alex Tessier made the result safe with tries, as the Canucks beat the US for a record seventh-straight time, a run which included last week’s 29-14 win in group play.
The scores and scorers:
England 41-5 Australia
Tries: Hunter, Packer 3, Ward, Cokayne, Matthews
Cons: Scarratt 2, Rowland
Australia: 15 Pauline Piliae-Rasabale, 14 Bienne Terita, 13 Georgina Friedrichs, 12 Sharni Williams, 11 Lori Cramer, 10 Arabella McKenzie, 9 Layne Morgan, 8 Grace Hamilton, 7 Shannon Parry (captain), 6 Emily Chancellor, 5 Grace Kemp, 4 Michaela Leonard, 3 Bridie O’Gorman, 2 Adiana Talakai, 1 Liz Patu.
Replacements: 16 Tania Naden, 17 Emily Robinson, 18 Eva Karpani, 19 Sera Naiqama, 20 Piper Duck, 21 Iliseva Batibasaga, 22 Cecilia Smith, 23 Mahalia Murphy.
England: 15 Helena Rowland, 14 Lydia Thompson, 13 Emily Scarratt, 12 Tatyana Heard, 11 Abby Dow, 10 Zoe Harrison, 9 Leanne Infante, 8 Sarah Hunter (captain), 7 Marlie Packer, 6 Alex Matthews, 5 Abbie Ward, 4 Zoe Aldcroft, 3 Sarah Bern, 2 Amy Cokayne, 1 Vickii Cornborough.
Replacements: 16 Lark Davies , 17 Hannah Botterman, 18 Maud Muir, 19 Rosie Galligan, 20 Poppy Cleall, 21 Lucy Packer, 22 Holly Aitchison, 23 Ellie Kildunne.
Referee: Maggie Cogger-Orr (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Lauren Jenner (New Zealand), Kat Roche (Russia)
TMO: Ben Whitehouse (Wales)
Canada 32-11 USA
Tries: Hunt, Paquin, Farries, Tessier
Cons: De Goede 3
Pens: De Goede 2
Cons: Kelter 2
Canada: 15 Elissa Alarie, 14 Maddy Grant, 13 Alysha Corrigan, 12 Sara Kaljuvee, 11 Paige Farries, 10 Alexandra Tessier, 9 Justine Pelletier, 8 Sophie de Goede, 7 Karen Paquin, 6 Fabiola Forteza, 5 McKinley Hunt, 4 Courtney Holtkamp, 3 DaLeaka Menin, 2 Emily Tuttosi, 1 Olivia DeMerchant.
Replacements: 16 Gillian Boag, 17 Brittany Kassil, 18 Alex Ellis, 19 Ngalula Fuamba, 20 Tyson Beukeboom, 21 Gabrielle Senft, 22 Pamphinette Buisa, 23 Anaïs Holly.
United States: 15 Tess Feury, 14 Jennine Detiveaux, 13 Eti Haungatau, 12 Alev Kelter, 11 Lotte Clapp, 10 Gabriella Cantorna, 9 Carly Waters, 8 Kate Zackary (captain), 7 Rachel Johnson, 6 Kathryn Johnson, 5 Evi Ashenbrucker, 4 Kristine Sommer, 3 Nick James, 2 Joanna Kitlinski, 1 Hope Rogers.
Replacements: 16 Kathryn Treder, 17 Catherine Benson, 18 Charli Jacoby, 19 Jenny Kronish, 20 Bitsy Cairns, 21 Bridget Kahele, 22 Katana Howard, 23 Meya Bizer.
Referee: Joy Neville (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Sara Cox (England), Clara Munarini (Italy)
TMO: Ian Tempest (England)