England will meet New Zealand in the final of Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017.
The sides ensured their places in Saturday’s final after two enthralling semi-final clashes at the Kingspan Stadium in Belfast, where New Zealand fought off a tough USA team, 45-12, and reigning champions England beat their French rivals, 20-3, in a classic encounter in Belfast.
For the fourth time in Women’s Rugby World Cup history, England and New Zealand will go head to head for the biggest prize in women’s rugby.
New Zealand were victorious in the three previous meetings, amid a run of four successive titles from 1998-2010, and were the first to book their place in Saturday’s decider with a 45-12 defeat of USA in the first semi-final.
Portia Woodman scored four of New Zealand’s eight tries in a physical encounter against a Women’s Eagles’ outfit playing in their first semi-final for 19 years.
The rain began to fall in Belfast before the second semi-final but that didn’t stop England and France from laying everything on the line, the defending champions weathering a first-half onslaught to reach a seventh final and deny Les Bleues their first with a 20-3 victory.
Australia and Canada also had cause to celebrate after victories over hosts Ireland (36-24) and Wales (52-0) guaranteed them a top six finish and, as a result, their place at Women’s Rugby World Cup 2021.
The penultimate day of Ireland 2017 also saw victories for Italy and Spain.
The final day of action gets underway at 12:00 local time (GMT+1) with the 11th place play-off between Japan and Hong Kong at Queen’s University, followed by the ninth place play-off between Spain and Italy and the battle for fifth between Australia and Canada. Hosts Ireland will take on Wales in the seventh place play-off place in the first match at Kingspan Stadium with the winner securing their place at WRWC 2021.
The attention will then turn to the bronze final between France and USA before England and New Zealand once again meet in a World Cup final.
Report courtesy of World Rugby