Women’s Rugby World Cup: Day Six Highlights
The Rugby World Cup quarter-finalists are confirmed after Italy, Canada and England won the three final pool matches.
Hosts New Zealand will face Wales, Canada will play the USA, England take on Australia and it’s France v Italy – find out all the Rugby World Cup 2022 knockout stages fixture details here.
What else stood out on the last day of pool matches at Waitakere Stadium in Auckland? We take a look back at a few of the best bits as the group stage reaches its conclusion.
Women’s Rugby World Cup: Day Six Highlights
Rosie Galligan is only 24 but has already overcome numerous hurdles to reach this point in her career. She suffered meningitis in late 2019 and was told both her legs would have had to be amputated had she arrived at the hospital just a day later. Then a serious injury ruled her out of action for months and meant a lot of rehab.
Still, a move from Saracens to Harelquins appears to have revived her career. She earned an England recall at the start of this year and won her second cap in the Six Nations – 1,149 days after her first.
Now she is at a World Cup – one of only seven uncontracted players in the Red Roses squad – and starred in the Red Roses’ 75-0 win over South Africa. Not only did she score a hat-trick (and have a fourth try denied by the TMO) but she called the lineout for the first time in a Test and was central to England’s dominant driving maul.
She has put in the hard graft to get to this point, juggling work commitments with training to make it into the squad for this tournament. As she herself said, a year ago she never thought she would have made it to the World Cup. Now she is here, she is making the most of the opportunity.
Also great to see England players show their respect for this local haka performance…
Sarina Wiegman in situ
While the Red Roses title bid rolls on, another England manager was in town finding out what route their own World Cup campaign will take.
Sarina Wiegman has been in Auckland for the FIFA Women’s World Cup draw and headed to Waitakere Stadium on Sunday to watch the Red Roses make it three wins from three and reach the last eight.
Wiegman will be hoping her Lionesses team can lead the way at the football tournament next year too.
Play, pause, repeat
Canada extended their winning run against the USA to six matches – and in doing so set up a quarter-final against the same opposition.
It would obviously be better if pool opponents avoided each other until the final, as they would do in the men’s competition, but with only 12 teams in the tournament that isn’t possible so we have two rematches in the last eight – New Zealand v Wales as well as Canada v USA.
The Canadians have looked one of the most well-drilled teams at this tournament and have quietly worked their way through the pool stages to secure second spot in the seedings, but they will likely need to step up on the performance they produced in the pool against the Eagles to make it seven straight wins and book a semi-final spot next weekend.
Forgive this small rant amidst the positives of this final pool round, but the number of times players kept the ball in the field when aiming to kick for touch was hugely frustrating.
There is no doubt that kicking in women’s rugby is one of the most improved areas of the game, but those sort of errors just highlight there is still work to do. Of course, we see kickers miss touch in the men’s game but not as often as we have seen this weekend, with Robyn Wilkins’s miss late on against Asutralia probably the most costly for her Wales team.
Historic knockout match
The Azzurre are the first Italy national team – male or female – to reach the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals.
It’s an historic achievement and they will fancy their chances in the quarter-finals having beaten France 26-19 in a World Cup warm-up match last month.
They didn’t have it all their own way in their final pool match against Japan, particularly at the breakdown, but les Bleues will be more familiar opposition.
Farewell to the fans’ favourites
Japan have won over supporters here in New Zealand both with their style of play – a quick, entertaining passing style – and their interactions with the crowds. Like the men’s side, they bow to spectators at the end of matches and those in the stands appreciate that ritual.
Yet their World Cup journey has come to an end, as has that of South Africa, who themselves have brought plenty of vibrancy to this tournament. It was brilliant for them to mark the end of their campaign with England at the end of their match.
Head to our Rugby World Cup hub page for all the latest from New Zealand.
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