England ease into World Cup final
Tom Hamilton at Stade Jean-Bouin
August 13, 2014
England celebrate Kat Merchant's try © Getty Images
England booked a place in their fourth World Cup final on the trot thanks to a 40-7 win over Ireland at the Stade Jean-Bouin in Paris on Wednesday.
Gary Street's side raised their game to a level above their form in the pool stages as they outscored Ireland five tries to one with Emily Scarratt and No.8 Rachel Hunter putting in impressive performances. England enjoyed set piece supremacy throughout with their dominant performance giving their backs the platform to play off.
The game started as a nervy affair with both sides wingers finding themselves making breaks but running into cul-de-sacs but it was Ireland who got the first points on the board when Alison Miller darted over from close range after a marauding Irish maul bulldozed towards England's line. At that stage, England looked rattled by Ireland with Katy Mclean's following restart going out on the full but she regained her composure as did England.
Her playmaking abilities at fly-half triggered numerous assaults on Ireland's line and when slack kicking gave England a five-metre lineout, Rochelle Clark punished Ireland from the subsequent driving maul. It was a game that did not want for physicality but Scarratt's pace and ability to break the line saw Ireland scramble to cope with her. Come the 36th minute After a try-saving tackle from Miller on her, the ball was recycled and Kat Merchant scored in the opposite corner, brushing off the attempts of Ashleigh Baxter.
Scarratt slotted penalties either side of half-time as England established a two-try lead but they stretched that in the 56th minute with Kay Wilson managed to get the ball down in the corner despite good work from Baxter. The conversion was missed and Ireland had their opportunities to narrow the deficit soon after but in the blink of an eye they went from hammering away on England's try line to defending their own. While that attack saw Ireland hold England out, they soon had their fourth try when Marlie Packer bundled over.
With the contest effectively over, England exploited tiredness in the Irish ranks for Packer to grab her second although replays showed the grounding was not as clear cut as first perceived. It mattered little and as the clock ticked on to 80 minutes the English bench waited in anticipation for the full-time whistle to blow but their attention will switch to the final where they will play either Canada or France on Sunday.
Emily Scarratt breaks forward for England © Getty Images
Earlier, New Zealand made easy work of Wales winning 63-7 in the first game of the day at Stade Jean-Bouin. The Kiwis crossed for 11 tries in total with five coming in the first 40. Shakira Baker grabbed a first-half hat-trick with Selica Winiata and Aroha Savage also scoring. In the second 40 it was more of the same with Winiata grabbing her second alongside tries from Linda Itunu, Honey Hireme, Rawinia Everitt, Amiria Rule and a fourth for Baker.
South Africa saw off Samoa 25-24 with Zandile Nojoko, Rachelle Geldenhuys and Veroeshka Grain crossing for the victors and Bella Milo grabbing a double for Samoa alongside a score for Merenaite Faitala-Mariner. Spain were also in action and they defeated Kazakhstan 18-5.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Tom Hamilton is the Associate Editor of ESPNscrum.
Communication error please reload the page.
Liverpool winger Jordon Ibe is set to miss the next four weeks with knee ligament damage, sources have told ESPN
Bernie Ecclestone has promised support for Formula One's three struggling teams to ensure at least 18 cars turn up on the grid at the opening round of the season
FA chairman Greg Dyke has offered to host a proposed live televised debate for all four FIFA presidency candidates at Wembley
Former-F1 driver Max Chilton has secured a seat with Nissan's LMP1 team in the World Endurance Series
Arsene Wenger's decision to drop Per Mertesacker could be a "defining moment" for Arsenal, according to the club's former defender Martin Keown
He's always looked down on the competition, but the 6 feet 7 inch Stoke striker has now officially taken his place at the pinnacle of English football. Well, for heading at least
Monday Maul takes in retirement talk, England reshuffles, France's unfair advantage and Scotland's communication breakdown
Greg Growden assesses the impact of Stephen Larkham's coaching on the Brumbies, and how he can boost the Wallabies for the Rugby World Cup
Despite James O'Connor's impressive return to Super Rugby for the Reds, Will Genia impressed the most to claim Australian Man of the Round honours
Ireland coach Joe Schmidt won the tactical battle and set his team on course for a shot at the Grand Slam. Tom Hamilton reports from Dublin
Tyson Fury moved closer to a shot at Wladimir Klitschko's WBO title with Christian Hammer's corner throwing in the towel after the eighth round at the O2 Arena
Sir Bobby Charlton thinks Louis van Gaal was "surprised by the enormity" of Manchester United when he took over as manager last summer
Chris Eubank Jr has called for a rematch with Billy Joe Saunders after stopping Dmitry Chudinov to claim the WBA 'interim' middleweight title at the O2 Arena in London
Brendan Rodgers hailed Philippe Coutinho as "a joy to watch" after the midfielder scored a spectacular winner against Manchester City and claimed it is "frightening" to think what the Brazilian could be worth
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers says Daniel Sturridge's fitness must be managed properly so that the striker "doesn't break"
Former Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher marked his return to football punditry by coining a new name for Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers
We rewind to 2003 when Real Madrid brought a park attitude to their Champions League clash with Manchester United and played out a 4-3 thriller
The tale of the Jamaica bobsled team who triumphed against the odds at the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics is embedded in pop culture more than 25 years on, writes Nick Atkin
Some of the best fighters to ever glove up have plied their trade in the Octagon - now ESPN list the 10 best who have fought under the UFC banner
In the latest edition of ESPN's Week in Words, Olivier Giroud gets emotional, Dimitar Berbatov is a bit smug, Arsene Wenger is hurting and Rory McIlroy is "p***** off"