World cup wrap – week 2
It’s been another round of huge successes and tight matches for Saracens stars past and present.
With milestones reach, quarter-final places secured, and new life breathed into respective campaigns, game week two produced more than its fair share of drama.
England 13-7 France
The Red Roses survived their toughest examination yet, as they edged France to confirm their place in the quarterfinals. All of England’s points came from centre Emily Scarratt, but they were made to work hard by a French side that refused to give in. A number of Saracens stars played their part in this one, with Leanne Infante keeping things moving at scrumhalf and Zoe Harrison continually testing the French back three with a relentless kicking game.
The returning Marlie Packer repeatedly worked to get her side on the front foot, whilst Hannah Botterman and Poppy Cleall came off the bench to help see their side over the line.
USA 30-17 Japan
The USA got their World Cup campaign back on track, as they eventually pulled clear of a resilient Japanese side, ahead of a titanic tussle next weekend with North American rivals Canada.
Whilst Japan held a narrow lead at half-time, it was a completely different story in the second half, as the USA, marshalled by former Saracen Alev Kelter eventually pulled clear.
Kelter would score 12 points in all, with club captain Lotte Clapp coming off the bench in the 55th minute, as the Americans continued to pull away, despite a late Japanese try.
Scotland 12-14 Australia
It was late heartbreak for the second time in as many weeks for Scotland and Jodie Rettie, as Australia came from behind to edge a titanic battle that could have huge ramifications in the final shake-up.
Scotland were 12-0 up at the break, but fell agonisingly short, as a late converted try saw the Australians edge home. Ashley Marsters scored the crucial try but was sent off moments later, before a second red card saw the Australians finish with 13 players.
The Scots now need to put that disappointment behind them, ahead of next weekend’s final pool match against holders New Zealand.
Canada 22-12 Italy
Alysha Corrigan was named in the Canadian squad for the first time this tournament, club teammate Alex Ellis came off the bench in a bonus-point victory over Italy that secured a quarterfinal berth. It was also a significant night for former Saracen Olivia De Merchant, as she won her 50th cap for her country.
The Italians made a fast start, scoring after just thirty seconds, but Canada took control of the match from there, keeping Italy at arm’s length throughout.
Canada had the bonus-point wrapped up after 50 minutes, as their power game up front proved too much for the Italians to deal with.
Wales 12-56 New Zealand
A Welsh side containing Donna Rose and Kat Evans suffered a compressive defeat to tournament hosts New Zealand, although they still remain in a strong position to qualify for the quarterfinals.
The Black Ferns scored ten tries in all, although Wales did score two of their own.
Evans came off the bench for the final ten minutes, whilst Rose played the best part of an hour for Ioan Cunningham’s side.
Despite the Black Ferns showing their attacking prowess, the Welsh defensive resolve was still there for all to see, with Rose aiding the cause with fourteen tackles for her side.