quarterfinals confirmed, Australia to play favourites England

Australia will play tournament favourites England in the Rugby World Cup quarterfinals next weekend as Sunday’s final pool games locked the jigsaw pieces into position.

The Wallaroos booked their finals ticket with a tense 13-7 win over Wales on Saturday.

The team then sat back and watched their weirdnews24 jockey for playoff position as Italy, Canada and England all recorded victories at Waitakere Stadium on Sunday.

READ MORE: Matildas dealt ‘worst possible’ World Cup draw

READ MORE: Australia under fire over dubious World Cup call

READ MORE: ‘Absolute gun’ set to explode on World Cup

“Playing Australia will be fantastic as we don’t get many opportunities to play against them. It will be a great contest,” England coach Simon Middleton said.

In the other quarterfinals, defending champions New Zealand will play Wales, Canada will take on the United States and France will meet Italy.

Australia finished sixth on the combined pool standings, setting up a daunting date with third-placed England, who thrashed South Africa 75-0.

Lock Rosie Galligan scored a hat-trick for England.

Watch every match of the women’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand on the home of rugby, Stan Sport. All matches streaming ad-free, live and on demand

Wallaroos halfback catches Wales napping

The professional England outfit has won 27 straight games and will start red-hot favourites against the Wallaroos, who lost to New Zealand but beat Scotland in pool play.

“We definitely know that we can improve on that performance, that’s for sure,” Wallaroos coach Jay Tregonning said after the Wales win.

“Getting through to the quarterfinals was our goal from the beginning so it’s a huge relief to be through. Now we need to get through the knockout stages and everything is on the cards again… it’s a grand final every week now.

“We’ll prepare for every game like it’s a grand final and try to progress as far as we can.

Wallaroo sinbinned for high shot

“We’re going to try and give the girls a bit of a freshen up in the week and then focus our training at the end of the week. I just think they definitely need a break as they have been working hard for the last four weeks we’ve been together. So, we’ll try to freshen them up a little bit and then get ripped in.”

The Wallaroos have adopted a ‘whatever it takes’ mantra at the World Cup and should be able to play with freedom against the heavily fancied English side.

“It’s massive for this group of girls to have come all this way and make it to the quarterfinals,” Australia captain Shannon Parry said.

“That was the first box we wanted to tick and we made it and now the tournament opens up… discipline is something we need to tighten up for sure. Obviously, there were a few less penalties this week but we really want to make them as minimal as possible.

“So that’s something we’ll look at again during the week and we should tighten it up come next week in the quarterfinals… this group has come a long way since the start of the year.”

Sean Maloney and Morgan Turinui are joined by Nathan Grey to dissect the final round of the Rugby Championship and reminisce on some stories from their playing days

ITALY CREATE WORLD CUP HISTORY

Melissa Bettoni scored a try with less than two minutes remaining to clinch Italy’s 21-8 win over Japan which propelled it into the quarterfinals.

They became the first Italian rugby team, male or female, to reach a World Cup knockout round.

Until Bettoni plunged over the line amongst a group of forwards in the 78th minute, Italy’s attack had sputtered and relied on three penalties from centre Michela Sillari for a brittle 14-8 lead.

Italy was stretched to the limit by Japan, who had no chance of reaching the quarterfinals but went out of the tournament with a bold performance which almost upset Italy’s progression.

Japan was solid in defence and at times stretched Italy with an expansive attack.

Both teams scored a try in the first half and Italy relied on Sillari, whose first penalty gave it a 8-5 halftime lead and whose second broke a deadlock after Japan had equalised in the 49th minute.

Italy is known as an attacking side of some quality.

But it had an off day and its back play broke down due to handling errors often forced by defensive pressure from Japan.

The second half was a slog and Italy, unable to breach the Japan defence, was forced to go to Sillari’s boot for its winning edge.

Italy’s opening try came in the ninth minute and was one of the brightest points in a relatively drab match.

From a lineout, Italy spread the ball wide and Vittoria Ostuni Minuzzi played a key role in keeping the ball alive and drawing in defenders before offloading.

She passed to winger Aura Muzzo who had space on the left flank, then cut infield.

When she was brought down just short of the line, Maria Magatti was present to carry the ball over the line.

Japan equalised through Kyoko Hosokawa in the 30th minute at the end of a wide ranging move of multiple phases.

Italy snuffed out attacks on both sides of the field but Japan kept possession and finally found a gap for Hosokawa to score.

From them on the boot of Sillari became predominant.

She edged her team ahead at halftime, Japan drew level, then Sillari added two penalties for a 14-8 lead before Bettoni made the match safe.

“Not happy, no control in the match,” Italy coach Andrea di Giandomenico said.

“For our squad we lost possession, had no control. We are happy of course but as a squad we have work to do.”

CANADA UNDERLINES TITLE CREDENTIALS

World No.3 Canada burnished its image as a title contender with a 29-14 win over perennial rival the United States which completed a clean sweep of group matches.

Canada goes into the quarterfinals as the second seed and as one of only three teams along with England and New Zealand to have an unbeaten record in its group.

The match had the bruising nature of a derby encounter with Canada using its backs in the first half to carry the ball powerfully and at pace, crashing from depth into a tough US defensive line, set flat and determined not to yield.

Canada managed three first half tries and led 19-7 at the break.

But the US yielded those points grudgingly and Canada had to use all of its skill and some persistence to create scoring chances.

The US also was resourceful.

Aware that Canada’s lineout and the rolling mauls that develop from it is one of its strengths, the US forwards simply refused to engage the maul and without opposition players committed, the maul became illegal.

Canada still managed to build its lead through the first half.

With sharp handling and direct running it was able to move the ball quickly to the flanks where it was able to impose some stress on the US defence which was flat and stretched wide.

Canada’s first try came after only six minutes to hooker Emily Tuttosi from one of a few mauls it was able to marshal successfully.

A breakout run by Alysha Corrigan set up the next try which was scored by Alex Tessier.

Corrigan recovered a chip kick, ran strongly and was supported by the Canada forwards who took the ball to the line.

The US replied with a try to Alev Kelter who carried the ball forward near the 22m line then featured again wide out with a strong scoring run through ineffective tackles.

Paige Farries added another for Canada just before the break.

The US lost no fans in defeat.

It frustrated Canada for long periods in the second half, frequently winning breakdown penalties and eventually securing its second try.

Canada needed 20 minutes to add to its halftime tally, finally driving Olivia DeMerchant over the US line.

US captain Kate Zackary was rewarded for an outstanding match with a try in the 71st minute.

But Canada had the final say with a try on the fulltime siren to Mikiela Nelson.

For a daily dose of the best of the breaking news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here

Related Articles

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest Articles