England thrash Ireland to reach final

Date published: August 13 2014

England reached the Women's World Cup Final after claiming a convincing 40-7 victory over Ireland in Paris on Wednesday.

England reached the Women's World Cup Final after claiming a convincing 40-7 victory over Ireland in Paris on Wednesday.

The opening half was a war of attrition as both sides tried to gain the upperhand by taking the ball through the hands.

Ireland had the better of the opening exchanges and were rewarded with the game's first try in the 17th minute. The girls from the Emerald Isle were initially stopped just short of the try-line, by a solid defensive effort from their counterparts, after taking the ball through 14 phases.

But after kicking the ball into touch Ireland launched a drive from the line-out and, after checking with the television match official, referee Amy Perrett awarded the try to diminutive scrum-half Tania Rosser.

Niamh Briggs added the conversion but that try seemed to be the wake-up call which England needed. They upped the ante and were soon camped inside Ireland's 22.

England's efforts were rewarded when veteran prop Rochelle Clark crossed over from close quarters 10 minutes later after Sarah Hunter was initially stopped just short of the try-line.

England's forwards' were dominant in the set-phases – especially their scrums in which they shoved their counterparts off the ball on several occasions.

Despite missing with the conversion, Emily Scarratt gave England the lead via a penalty in the 33rd minute. Shortly afterwards, Katherine Merchant rounded off in the corner after Scarratt laid the groundwork with a superb run which tore Ireland's defence to shreds.

Scarratt gathered the ball on the halfway line and beat five defenders before being stopped just short of the try-line by a desperate tackle from Ashleigh Baxter.

England took the ball through a couple of phases with their forwards before Merchant shrugged of a tackle from Alison Miller before diving over.

Scarratt added the extras and succeeded with another three-pointer after Briggs was penalised for a ruck infringement.

That gave the 2010 Women's World Cup runners-up an 18-7 lead at the interval and they upped the intensity levels in the second half.

Scarratt slotted another penalty five minutes after half-time and England made it 26-7 when Kay Wilson dotted down in the left-hand corner, after a well-worked move close to the hour mark.

That seemed to knock the wind out of Ireland's sails but England weren't done yet.

Replacement back-row Marlie Packer crossed over for two tries towards the end which were both converted by Ceri Large.

The scorers:

For England:
Tries: Packer 2, Merchant, Clark, Wilson
Con: Scarratt, Large 2
Pens: Scarratt 3

For Ireland:
Try: Rosser
Con: Briggs

England: 15 Danielle Waterman, 14 Katherine Merchant, 13 Emily Scarratt, 12, Rachael Burford, 11 Kay Wilson, 10 Katy McLean (c), 9 La Toya Mason, 8 Sarah Hunter, 7 Maggie Alphonsi, 6 Alexandra Matthews, 5 Joanna McGilchrist, 4 Tamara Taylor, 3 Sophie Hemming, 2 Victoria Fleetwood, 1 Rochelle Clark
Replacements: 16 Emma Croker, 17 Laura Keates, 18 Rebecca Essex, 19 Marlie Packer, 20 Natasha Hunt, 21 Ceri Large, 22 Claire Allan

Ireland: 15 Niamh Briggs, 14 Ashleigh Baxter, 13 Lynne Cantwell, 12 Grace Davitt, 11 Alison Miller, 10 Nora Stapleton, 9 Tania Rosser, 8 Heather O'Brien, 7 Claire Molloy, 6 Paula Fitzpatrick, 5 Marie Louise Reilly, 4 Sophie Spence, 3 Ailis Egan, 2 Gillian Bourke, 1 Fiona Coghlan
Replacements: 16 Sharon Lynch, 17 Fiona Hayes, 18 Siobhan Fleming, 19 Laura Guest, 20 Larissa Muldoon, 21 Jenny Murphy, 22 Hannah Casey

Referee: Amy Perrett (Australia)