- Second half Sarah Hunter try crucial in Canada draw
- England win Pool A on points difference
England Women 13 Canada Women 13
England Women are through to the Women’s Rugby World Cup semi-finals after a nail-biting 13-13 draw against Canada at Marcoussis, France.
Nerveless centre Emily Scarratt provided eight points with the boot – two penalties and a conversion – in a vital kicking display, as captain Sarah Hunter scored England’s only try in the second half.
Canada’s forwards bullied England at times and their pack produced a try in either half through Karen Paquin and Kayla Mack but, crucially, kicker Magali Harvey could not convert either score.
An early Scarratt penalty had put Gary Street’s side 3-0 up early on, but Canada hit back and after spell of sustained pressure flanker Paquin barged her way over the line from a well-worked driving maul.
Both sides had chances as the half progressed; most notably England when Ceri Large twice put through good kicks. First Danielle Waterman knocked-on just short of the line before Kat Merchant knocked-on in the tackle over the line.
But a second Scarratt penalty on the stroke of half time regained England’s lead as they went in 6-5 to the good.
Canada started the second 40 with real intent and put pressure on England’s defence. That pressure eventually told after 46 minutes when replacement Kayla Mack pushed her way over to make it 10-6.
In an absorbing end-to-end encounter, England finally had their first try after a long spell of pressure deep in the Canada 22. After a strong scrum Hunter was on hand at the base to dot down, with Scarratt’s conversion edging England in-front at 13-10.
With seven minutes to go, Canada were awarded a kickable penalty and wing Harvey – a dangerous running threat throughout – sent it between the posts to tie the scores at 13-apiece. As the clock ticked past 80 England knew that a draw would be enough to see them through and No. 9 Natasha Hunt kicked it out to bring the game to a close.
The result means that defending champions New Zealand cannot now reach the semi-finals, and Canada will have to wait for other results to see if their draw is enough to see them into the last four.
Head coach Street said: “It’s very much a case of job done – from the start of the tournament our aim was to get into the semi-final and that’s where we are. Of course we know that we can improve on today – we made too many silly errors, some of which were quite uncharacteristic. But in some ways that’s the exciting thing, we still haven’t reached our potential.
“We knew that a draw would be enough to see us through, we went through the various scenarios beforehand, so at 13-13 we had no problem kicking it out.”
Hunter said: “It was physical and competitive, we knew that Canada would front up and they definitely brought their game to us. We know that we’ve been in a battle and it was a great game to be involved in.
“We’re delighted to get out of the Pool – that’s what it was always about. We know that we are going to have to improve on today’s performance, but we have a few days now and we’ll look to recover and switch focus on the next one.”
15 Danielle Waterman (Bristol), 14 Katherine Merchant (Worcester), 13 Emily Scarratt (Lichfield), 12 Rachael Burford (Thurrock) VC, 11 Claire Allan (Richmond), 10 Ceri Large (Worcester), 9 Natasha Hunt (Lichfield), 1 Rochelle Clark (Worcester), 2 Emma Croker (Richmond), 3 Sophie Hemming (Bristol), 4 Rebecca Essex (Richmond), 5 Tamara Taylor (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), 6 Heather Fisher (Worcester), 7 Margaret Alphonsi (Saracens), 8 Sarah Hunter (Lichfield) C.
Replacements: 16 Victoria Fleetwood (Lichfield), 17 Laura Keates (Worcester), 18 Joanna McGilchrist (Wasps), 19 Alexandra Matthews (Richmond), 20 La Toya Mason (Wasps), 21 Katy Mclean (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), 22 Kay Wilson (Bristol).
Penalties: Scarratt 2
Substitutions: Fleetwood on for Croker 50 mins, Keates on for Hemming 50 mins, Matthews on for Fisher 50 mins, McGilchrist on for Essex 56 mins, Mclean on for Large 60 mins, Wilson on for Merchant 60 mins
15 Elissa Alarie 14 Magali Harvey 13 Mandy Marchak, 12 Andrea Burk 11 Jessica Dovanne 10 Emily Belchos 9 Stephanie Bernier 1 Marie-Pier Pinault-Reid 2 Kim Donaldson 3 Hilary Leith 4 Latoya Blackwood 5 Maria Samson 6 Jacey Murphy 7 Karen Paquin 8 Kelly Russell C.
Replacements: 16 Laura Russell 17 Olivia DeMerchant 18 Mary Jane Kirby 19 Tyson Beukeboom 20 Kayla Mack 21 Julianne Zussman 22 Brittany Waters
Tries: Karen Paquin , Kayla Mack
Penalties: Magali Harvey
England’s WRWC Results
Friday, August 1
England 65 Samoa 3
Tuesday, August 5
England 45 Spain 5
Saturday, August 9
England 13 Canada 13