Planet Rugby

Preview: WRWC Semi-Finals

01st September 2010 08:41

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Trisha Hina takes the gap for New Zealand v Wales

To meet France: Trish Hina

Women's Rugby World Cup 2010 will head into the semi-final stage on Wednesday as New Zealand, France, England and Australia go toe-to-toe.

Both matches will be live on rwcwomens.com - for those outside the UK and Ireland - NZ v France at 18:00; England v Australia at 20:15 (local time).

However, four other fixtures will also take place in Surrey as the race for fifth to twelfth hots up with Canada, Kazakhstan, Ireland, Scotland, South Africa, Sweden, USA and Wales all in action.

Order of play in England

9th Place Semi Finals
14:00 - South Africa v Kazakhstan at Surrey Sports Park (Pitch 2), Guildford
14:15 - Wales v Sweden at Surrey Sports Park (Pitch 1), Guildford

5th Place Semi-Finals
16:15 - Canada v Scotland at Surrey Sports Park (Pitch 2), Guildford
16:30 - Ireland v USA at Surrey Sports Park (Pitch 1), Guildford

Semi-Finals
18:00 - New Zealand v France at Twickenham Stoop, Twickenham
20:15 - England v Australia at Twickenham Stoop, Twickenham

Semi-final Preview

France will be the latest nation attempting to derail the Black Ferns' quest for a fourth Women's Rugby World Cup crown when they meet in the first semi final at the Stoop.

New Zealand's proud record now stands at 17 consecutive wins on the World Cup stage, dating back to a semi-final loss to USA in 1991, and Brian Evans' side will hope to repeat their 40-10 victory over France at the same stage in Canada four years ago.

The Black Ferns will cut an unusual sight when they run out at the home of English Premiership side Harlequins as they will be wearing their changed strip of white jerseys, a fact they insist will have no impact on their performance.

The starting line-up certainly has a familiar look to it though with 13 changes, four of them positional, from the side that beat Wales 41-8 to top Pool C, including the return of captain Melissa Ruscoe, joint leading try-scorer Carla Hohepa and half-back pairing Emma Jensen and Anna Richards.

France, by contrast, have made only two changes from the side that hit form to beat Canada 23-8 in the Pool C decider to seal their place in the semi- finals, as they seek to reach a first ever World Cup final.

Claire Canal, who has scored three tries in the tournament so far, moves to flanker to make space for the return of captain Sandra Rabier at number eight with France promising they have the game plan to beat the Black Ferns.

The other semi final brings together two traditional sporting rivals in hosts England and Australia, both of whom should have some vocal and enthusiastic support in their corner at the Twickenham Stoop.

England, the top seeds after the pool stages, will be desperate to avoid more World Cup heartache at the hands of the Wallaroos, who beat them in the RWC Sevens quarter finals en route to being crowned the inaugural women's champions in Dubai last year.

Inspired by that success in the Dubai desert, Australia are already guaranteed their best ever finish after storming into a first ever World Cup semi final with a 62-0 defeat of South Africa to pip Canada to the best pool runner-up spot thanks to Sharni Williams' try in the dying seconds.

Coach John Manenti has kept faith with the majority of that starting line-up, making only two changes in the front row with Danielle Meskell replacing Caroline Vakalahi at prop and Silei Poluleuligaga coming in for Margaret Watson at hooker.

His England counterpart Gary Street has made five changes, welcoming back prop Rosemarie Crowley, flanker Heather Fisher, scrum half Amy Turner, wing Fiona Pocock - one of six players to have scored four tries in the pool stages - and centre Alice Richardson to the starting XV.

With thanks to the IRB

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