England Women secured their place in semi-finals of the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup after beating USA 47-26 in their Pool B decider.
Going into the game both sides had won their two pool matches, but after a physical start from the Eagles, the Red Roses sealed their place in the last four.
Emily Scarratt touched down from Katy Mclean’s superbly weighted grubber to open the scoring, then a penalty try, and two Marlie Packer scores – all from driving mauls – secured England their try bonus point after 26 minutes.
The United States was next to put points on the board with Kate Zachery scoring a hard-fought try which was sealed with a conversion by inside center Alev Kelter. However, England quickly countered with Mclean darting through space to get England up to a 33-7 lead at the break.
England continued scoring in the second half through Amy Wilson Hardy and Amy Cokayne, however, the Eagles secured a late four-try bonus point with full back Cheta Emba, wings Naya Elena Tapper and Kris Thomas’ late efforts taking the full-time score to 47-26.
England Women head coach Simon Middleton said: ‘We are really pleased that we are now in a semi-final. We would have preferred to finish the game better than we did but we were absolutely outstanding in the first half, we were clear in thought and our execution was fantastic. We had the job done at half time.
‘USA was outstanding today, we knew they were going to be a threat as they have got some fantastic athletes and if you look at some of the tries they scored, they were very difficult to defend against.’
Middleton added: ‘We have achieved our objective which was to get out of the pool and into a semi-final and we are now looking forward to that challenge.’
England match-day 23 against the USA, Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017
15. Danielle Waterman (Bristol, 73 caps)
14. Amy Wilson Hardy (Bristol, 9 caps)
13. Emily Scarratt (Lichfield, 72 caps)
12. Amber Reed (Bristol, 42 caps)
11. Kay Wilson (Richmond, 47 caps)
10. Katy Mclean (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks, 89 caps)
9. Natasha Hunt (Lichfield, 39 caps)
1. Vickii Cornborough (Harlequins Ladies, 29 caps)
2. Amy Cokayne (Lichfield, 31 caps)
3. Sarah Bern (Bristol, 13 caps)
4. Abbie Scott (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks, 19 caps)
5. Tamara Taylor (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks, 107 caps)
6. Alex Matthews (Richmond, 35 caps)
7. Marlie Packer (Bristol, 49 caps)
8. Sarah Hunter (Bristol, 96 caps) (C)
16. Vicky Fleetwood (Saracens, 63 caps)
17. Rochelle Clark (Worcester Valkyries, 127 caps)
18. Justine Lucas (Lichfield, 25 caps)
19. Poppy Cleall (Bristol, 15 caps)
20. Harriet Millar-Mills (Lichfield, 49 caps)
21. Leanne Riley (Harlequins Ladies, 13 caps)
22. Rachael Burford (Harlequins Ladies, 70 caps)
23. Megan Jones (Bristol, 7 caps)
Schedule Pool B
England 56 – 5 Spain
Tries: Jones, Wilson (4), Scarratt, Millar-Mills, Matthews, Cokayne, Thompson
Conversions: Mclean (2), Scarratt
England 56 – 13 Italy
Tries: Scarratt (2), Matthews, Thompson (2), Cokayne, Taylor, Waterman (2), Wilson Hardy
Conversions: Scarratt (2) Reed
England 47 – 26 USA
Tries: Scarratt, Penalty try, Packer (2), Mclean, Wilson Hardy, Cokayne
Conversions: Scarratt (5), Penalty try