What you may have missed as the second round of pool matches took place in Whangarei


Women’s Rugby World Cup: Day Three Highlights

We’re now halfway through the pool stage of this year’s Rugby World Cup, with some fascinating ties in Whangarei on day three.

There was yet more heartbreak for Scotland, the USA bounced back against Japan while England extended their winning run to 27 Tests with a narrow victory in a cracking ‘Le Crunch’.

Women’s Rugby World Cup: Day Three Highlights

Tackle machines

The statistics from England’s 13-7 victory over France in the final match of the day were quite incredible. England dominated possession and territory two to one, made more than twice as many metres as their opponents, nearly three times as many runs and carries over the gain-line, beat four times as many defenders – and yet it was just one try apiece.

The reason for that was France’s phenomenal defence. They made 214 tackles (nearly three times more than England’s 74), with Marjorie Mayans – on the occasion of her 50th cap – making 24 of them.

That defence really thwarted England’s attack, albeit that the Red Roses still closed out their 11th straight victory over les Bleues. If they meet again in the knockout stages, England coach Simon Middleton expects another “heart-stopper”.

New angle

Emily Scarratt scored all England’s points against France and her first-half try – from a switch move with Zoe Harrison – was captured from behind the posts by an ITV cameraman.

Try of the tournament (so far) contender

Italy’s fourth score against the USA last weekend was sublime but Japan delivered a decent effort of their own against the same opponents.

It came late on, with the match already lost, but Komachi Imakugi broke from her own half, weaved around several defenders and skipped out of the final tackle to score under the posts and then converted her own try. It was an fantastic individual effort.

The French try, too, was well-worked with a cross-field kick and great running line creating the opportunity for Gaelle Hermet to go over.

Let us know your favourite try at the tournament so far by emailing rugbyworldletters@futurenet.com

Hooker shortage?

Australia overcame a 12-0 deficit to win 14-12 against Scotland but they could face something of a hooker crisis going into their final Pool A match against Wales.

Both their hookers were sent off in the closing minutes of the match. Ashley Marsters became the first player to be red-carded at this year’s World Cup following a dangerous tackle and Adiana Talakai soon followed her off. She was shown a yellow card for a dangerous tackle but as she had been sin-binned in the first half for a maul offence that resulted in a red card.

They will both face disciplinary hearings this week, with Marsters sure to face a ban if her red card is upheld. Talakai could be suspended, too, which would leave the Wallaroos with only the uncapped Tania Naden as a hooker option.

At least one call-up is likely to be needed to ensure they have the requisite specialists going forward in the tournament– and if they do have to go with inexperience in the front row, Wales are sure to look to exploit it.

Emotional shirt presentations

England captain Sarah Hunter played her 137th Test against France, equalling Rocky Clark’s record as the most-capped England player of all time. When she was presented with her shirt, she received a standing ovation from all her team-mates…

There was another emotional moment in Wales’ camp. They brought their shirt presentation forward to allow Alisha Butchers to hand out the jerseys for Sunday’s match against New Zealand before she had to fly home following her tournament-ending knee injury.

Head to our Rugby World Cup hub page for all the latest from New Zealand.

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