New Zealand stand in the way of women’s route to the final
ENGLAND Women will face New Zealand in the semi-final of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games after finishing second in pool B.
England won 45-0 against Wales on day two following Friday’s two pool matches where they beat Fiji 17-5 but lost to Australia 29-12 at the Robina Stadium.
England were set to face New Zealand in the early hours of this morning for a shot at the final, where they would face either Australia or Canada.
Try-scorer Natasha Hunt said: “We set out to just go out and play our game and the girls were amazing – we couldn’t have asked for any more – the defence was spot on and in attack we were flowing so we’re really happy with that.
“We’ve been training really hard to be able to move between different styles of play and I think we showed that against Wales today.”
Heather Fisher added: “For us out here it’s about being the best version of ourselves and taking each game as it comes.
“We’ll keep going to the very end and keep fighting. Everyone wants a medal, it’s a dream and we’re not going to give up.”
Knowing a win would secure their semi-final spot, England were ahead against Wales after 40 seconds through Deborah Fleming.
Hunt scored from a quick tap penalty before a similar try from Emily Scarratt. Hunt’s second try of the game came off the back of a scrum.
England’s fifth score followed straight from the restart after half-time as Emily Scott gathered, dummied and raced through. Amy Wilson Hardy showed her pace around the out-
side twice towards the end as England racked up 45 points without conceding to win comfortably.
Olympic champions Australia advanced to the semi-finals with a 17-10 win over Fiji, to top Pool B ahead of England.
Charlotte Caslick, 23, scored two of the Australia’s three tries but Fiji showed great spirit to level the score twice with two brilliant tries from 22-yearold Miriama Naiobasali.
“It was a bit slippery out there, but no excuses really,” Caslick said referring to why Australia didn’t play as expected.
“We should have fixed our passes earlier. We need to pick up our communication as tomorrow night the noise (from the crowd) will be even louder.”
Australia will now play Pool A runners-up Canada in the first semi-final on Sunday, a replay of the Rio 2016 Olympics semi-final which Australia won 17-5.
New Zealand clinched Pool A by beating Canada 24-7 despite captain Sarah Goss and double try scorer Michaela Blyde receiving yellow cards.
“I was pretty gutted actually, just felt I was letting the team down,” Goss said. “By getting a yellow card, many had to cover, so I felt bad about that. That was unfortunate. Obviously we’ll try not to get any more of those.”
On day one the Kiwis scored 86 points without reply against Kenya (45-0) and South Africa (41-0). Canada also won their opening two matches, beating South Africa 29-0 and seeing off a spirited Kenya side 24-12.
Flyer: Deborah Fleming scores against Wales
Fighter: Heather Fisher