Women’s World Cup 2017: Round Two review
A look at all the action from the second round of pool games at the Women’s World Cup in Dublin
The second day of action from the Women’s World Cup had thrills and spills aplenty, from Portia Woodman’s eight tries to Ireland’s spirited comeback against Japan.
Things kicked off at noon at University College Dublin with New Zealand taking on World Cup debutants Hong Kong. The four-time world champions won 121-0 and ran in 19 tries in all – eight of them provided by winger Woodman, who is also the top try-scorer in Women’s Sevens Series history.
“It was an awesome game,” said Player of the Match Woodman. “The girls on the inside of me did a lot of the work and made it easy for me to finish off.”
The win puts the Black Ferns top of Pool A with a maximum ten points from their first two games and a huge points difference of +153. Yet the crunch game in this group is still to come – their contest with the world’s No 3 side Canada on Thursday.
The Canadians were made to work for a 15-0 win over Wales, whose defence was extremely impressive with Sioned Harries and Rachel Taylor standouts. The fact Canada failed to secure the expected four-try bonus point puts even more importance on Thursday’s match as they are off the pace in terms of the best runners-up spot with both England and USA on ten points in Pool B and France on the same in Pool C.
England continued their title defence in the same vein as they opened it, scoring ten tries against Italy in a 56-13 win. Danielle Waterman, Emily Scarratt and Lydia Thompson all scored try braces while Marlie Packer made her presence felt in the tight and loose.
“There were some really good bits in there individually and as a team, but there’s still plenty to work on and tidy up,” said skipper Scarratt.
Having led only 12-0 at half-time in their game against Spain, the USA ran in five second-half tries for a 43-0 victory that puts them level on points with England ahead of their pool decider on Thursday afternoon.
The defending world champions should win that one but they will be wary of the speed in the USA back-line and the Americans are definitely in the mix for the semi-finals with a maximum haul so far.
FOR THE LATEST SUBSCRIPTION OFFERS, CLICK HERE
In Pool C, France are in pole position having picked up a try bonus point in seeing off the challenge of Australia 48-0. It was Japan, however, who provided the biggest surprise of the day.
With a well-drilled scrum and slick handling they scored two first-half tries against Ireland to lead 14-0 at the break. The Irish recovered to win 24-14, Paula Fitzpatrick scoring two tries and Alison Miller the other while the boot of Nora Stapleton provided nine points. If the hosts are to reach the semi-finals they must now beat France on Thursday night to ensure top spot in the pool.
“We didn’t play well but we won,” said Ireland coach Tom Tierney. “We have to dust ourselves off and go again against France. The beauty of this tournament is the quick turnaround; we can’t feel sorry for ourselves, we have to get back on the horse and go again.
“Japan had 61% possession in the first half; we can’t give France 61% possession and we have to play in the right areas. We have to improve in a number of areas to be competitive on Thursday.”
If round two was good, round three promises to be a cracker. It’s all to play for!
New Zealand 121-0 Hong Kong
Canada 15-0 Wales
England 56-13 Italy
USA 43-0 Spain
Ireland 24-14 Japan
France 48-0 Australia
Thursday 17 August Fixtures
New Zealand v Canada (noon)
England v USA (2.30pm)
Italy v Spain (2.45pm)
Australia v Japan (5pm)
Wales v Hong Kong (5.15pm)
France v Ireland (7.45pm)