Find out who is selected in our composite XV from the last-eight ties
Women’s Rugby World Cup Team of the Quarter-finals
We’re approaching the business end of this year’s Rugby World Cup with just four teams remaining – Canada, England, France and New Zealand – but who was key to helping their teams progress to the semi-finals (or impressive in defeat)?
Here is our ‘dream team’ of players who stood out in the four quarter-finals, with reasoning below. Let us know who you would pick in a composite XV by emailing email@example.com
Women’s Rugby World Cup Team of the Quarter-finals
15. Elissa Alarie (Canada)
One of the smallest backs on the field in the all-North American quarter-final but she made her presence felt.
Safe under the high ball in damp conditions after the earlier deluge, she was also a dangerous counter-attacker. It was her kick ahead that set up Karen Paquin’s try midway through the first half and her mazy runs caused the USA problems (she beat six defenders), particularly in the second half.
14. Portia Woodman (New Zealand)
Scored two tries to become the top try-scorer in Rugby World Cup history and played a part in a couple of others in the Black Ferns’ 55-3 win over Wales.
She’s obviously a sublime finisher but is also creating tries for others with her runs – she was the top metre-maker against Wales with 195 (70 more than the next best) and beat ten defenders (more than twice as many as any other).
13. Michela Sillari (Italy)
Yes, she was part of an Azzurre side heavily beaten by France, but the scoreline could have been a lot worse had it not been for the centre.
She made 20 tackles (joint-top with Francesca Sgorbini) and missed none as her efforts in midfield helped stem the flow of French attacks. Plus, she kicked their only points – she has been accurate from the tee all tournament.
12. Theresa Fitzpatrick (New Zealand)
Another week, another Player of the Match performance for the inside-centre. Her and Ruahei Demant at fly-half are becoming a brilliant attacking fulcrum for the Black Ferns, both with their distribution and running abilities.
It was a superb Fitzpatrick break that led to Sarah Hirini’s try and she is proving adept at making space for her team-mates.
11. Paige Farries (Canada)
Like Alarie, she is a fair bit smaller than her USA opponents but she put her agility to great use to cut through the Eagles defence.
She gained the most metres of any of her team-mates, beat five defenders and scored a try early in the second half that put Canada firmly in control.
10. Caroline Drouin (France)
This was a tough call as Ruahei Demant was so impressive for New Zealand and Zoe Harrison managed the conditions extremely well for England, but we’ve opted for the Frenchwoman, who delivered her best performance of the World Cup in Whangarei at the weekend.
She was key to keeping les Bleues on the front foot, whether bringing team-mates into the attack or making runs herself. She beat the joint-most defenders and made the third-most metres.
9. Leanne Infante (England)
England had the quickest ruck speed of any of the winning teams at the weekend, with 68% of their own rucks at 0-3 seconds. The pace at which the Red Roses were able to recycle the ball meant Australia struggled to reset their defensive line and were on the back foot.
Infante was key to that, whipping the ball out to the waiting forwards with speed and precision, the latter crucial in the wet conditions.
1. Liz Patu (Australia)
Okay, the Wallaroos pack were under pressure for much of this match and it was not a great day for Patu at the scrum. However, she did play a key role in the one moment of magic her team produced.
It was her break and deft pass at the end of the first half that helped to create the overlap out wide for Emily Chancellor to slide over for their try.
2. Agathe Sochat (France)
France used their forwards effectively as one-out runners to punch holes in the Italian defence and the hooker featured regularly as a ball-carrier.
She was also France’s joint-top tackler, with a 100% success rate, and her contributions at the contact area were noteworthy.
3. Sarah Bern (England)
Her best performance of the World Cup to date – and on the occasion of her 50th cap. She helped England achieve a 100% success rate at the scrum and lineout, and we also saw her unleash her powerful running game.
It was one such charge from a lineout shortly before the break that took play into the 22 and created the position from which Marlie Packer scored her second try. Packer was the only forward who gained more metres with ball in hand than Bern.
4. Maiakawanakaulani Roos (New Zealand)
The Black Ferns second-row is growing into this tournament, becoming more prominent with every game.
She is not only happy to get stuck into the nuts and bolts of her second-row role – she was amongst the top tacklers and helped ensure the Black Ferns retained the ball at the breakdown – but she is becoming more of a threat with ball in hand too. She is a powerful runner and backs her passing skills to act as a distributor rather than just taking contact.
5. Abbie Ward (England)
Securing lineout ball in the rain on Sunday was always going to be tricky, but Ward made it look easy. She was the Red Roses’ main jumper, taking eight throws as her team enjoyed a 100% success rate at the lineout, and she also stole two Australian throws.
As well as her set-piece prowess, she scored a try and contributed to that aforementioned quick ruck ball with her work at the breakdown.
6. Fabiola Forteza (Canada)
It’s rare for a player to be amongst the top performers in line breaks and tackles but that is the all-round performance the Canadian blindside delivered on Sunday afternoon.
She was her team’s joint-top defender with ten tackles made and also made two line breaks as she became a more eminent ball-carrier in the second half.
7. Sarah Hirini (New Zealand)
Another tight call and Marlie Packer may well feel aggrieved to miss out on the No 7 shirt after a hat-trick performance for England.
We’ve given the Black Ferns openside the nod because while she is not necessarily someone who features high up on the stats charts, her all-round game is outstanding. She is everywhere.
As well as scoring a try against Wales, she was an excellent link player and a real nuisance at the breakdown, helping to slow down Welsh ball but also ensuring her team could recycle quickly.
8. Sarah Hunter (England)
Sophie de Goede delivered another top-class performance for Canada but it’s hard to look beyond the most-capped women’s rugby player this weekend.
Winning her 138th cap in appalling conditions at Waitakere Stadium, she not only scored England’s first try but showed great control at the back of the scrum as the Red Roses’ power in that area told and regularly offered herself as a carrier.
A safe pair of hands both as a leader and a player, which is impressive given the wet weather.
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