Women's Rugby World Cup
England open with win over Ireland
August 20, 2010
Amy Turner scored England's third try in their opening-day victory over Ireland in Guildford © Getty Images
Tournament hosts England began their bid for World Cup glory with a 27-0 win over a spirited but limited Ireland side at the Surrey Sports Club in Guildford on Friday.
England were on the front foot from the off and they pierced an impressively organised and resolute Irish defence on nine minutes when Fiona Pocock blazed over in the left corner. Ireland responded admirably to the concession of that early score and had the better of the remainder of the half, both in terms of possession and territory. However, they repeatedly squandered decent opportunities to trouble the scoreboard, most unforgivably when Niamh Briggs missed a kickable penalty on the half hour.
England punished Ireland's profligacy just before the break when a barnstorming run right up the middle of the field from Maggie Alphonsi eventually led to Katherine Merchant being left with a simple finish out wide.
That score settled the hosts and they were far more composed in the second period. Amy Turner effectively put the game beyond the Irish when she darted over from close range after cleverly taking a quick tap and player of the match Alphonsi secured the precious bonus point by crashing over the line with just over a minute of normal time remaining.
Also in Pool B, the United States, victors in the inaugural tournament in 1991, began their campaign with a facile 51-0 victory win over Kazakhstan. Fly-half Christy Ringgenberg was the star of the show for the Americans, scoring two tries as well as contributing 16 points with the boot. Nathalie Marchino also bagged a brace, while Ashley Kmiecik, Phaidra Knight and Amy Daniels all scored one try apiece.
Australia left it late before clinching a crucial bonus point in their 26-12 victory over Wales in the opening game in Pool A.
The Wallaroos made a blistering start to the game, racking up three unanswered tries in the opening half hour. Nicole Beck scored the first 11 minutes in, doing supremely well to ground the ball under intense pressure in the left corner before picking herself up to nail a difficult conversion attempt just inches in from the touchline.
Australia were over again before the midway point of the first half. Debby Hodgkinson picked the ball up off the back of a ruck and popped it into the path of the onrushing Sharni Williams, who crashed over just to the left of the posts.
The best was yet to come for the Aussies because just under ten minutes later the impressive Tricia Brown scythed through the Welsh defence before finding the jinking Cobie-Jane Morgan, who finished in fine style.
A bonus point seemed inevitable at that point but the Australian's discipline went out the window soon after, allowing Wales to drag themselves back into the match. Alex Hargreaves was sin-binned just before the interval and Wales took advantage five minutes after the restart, forcing Australia into the concession of a penalty try with a fine rolling maul.
The Wallaroos then lost Caroline Vakalahi (violent play) and Iliseva Batibasaga (high tackle) to the bin as they began to lose their heads completely. However, Wales were unable to capitalise on their temporary two-woman advantage.
With just over eight minutes to go, Lowri Harries managed to wriggle her way over the whitewash to draw the Welsh to within nine points but, crucially, Non Evans failed to convert. That knocked the stuffing of Jason Lewis' side and they allowed Brown in for Australia's vital fourth try with the last play of the game.
The other game in Pool A saw three-time defending champions New Zealand send out a warning to the pretenders to their throne with a 55-3 demolition of South Africa.
The Black Ferns wasted little time in announcing their arrival into the tournament, with the electric Carla Hohepa scoring in the right corner three minutes in after effortlessly burning her hapless marker Phumeza Gadu on the outside.
Fiao'o Fa'amausili drove her way over moments later before Kelly Brazier blazed through a gaping hole to score under the posts on 12 minutes. The bonus point was secured before the end of the first quarter, with Hohepa dotting after once more leaving Gadu for dead.
Hohepa then turned provider, popping the ball up for Huriana Manuel to score in the 22nd minute. Manuel crossed again just after the half hour mark and the Kiwis went in 38-0 up at the break.
They eased off somewhat in the second half but still managed three more tries. Renee Wickliffe raced fully 50 yards to score after intercepting a loose pass on halfway before Hohepa completed her hat-trick following great work from Victoria Grant.
Zandile Nojoko belatedly got South Africa off the mark with a penalty on 65 minutes but New Zealand, fittingly, had the final say, with Casey Robertson sneaking her way over to put the seal on a fine individual - and team - performance.
The opening game in Pool C, meanwhile, saw Canada register a 37-10 victory over Scotland. The game was as good as over at half-time, with tries from Barbara Mervin, Mandy Marchak and Maria Gallo helping the Canadians into a 25-0 advantage. The bonus point was secured when Marchak crossed again within 60 seconds of the restart. Credit to Scotland, though, they kept battling and managed two tries of their own, with Lucy Millard and Lindsay Wheeler touching down either side of a fifth Canadian score through Heather Moyse.
Finally, France kicked off their campaign with a laboured 15-9 defeat of tournament newcomes Sweden side later in the day. Sandra Rabier crossed early for the French and they managed another try through Claire Canal on the half hour. However, the Pool C favourites never looked confident and the boot of Ulrika Andersson-Hall meant that there was just a solitary point between the sides at the break. France continued to toil after the break but they eventually sealed victory with ten minutes to go when Canal crossed for her second try of the afternoon.
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