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Pool C: Ireland win thriller, France win easily

Two contrasting games ended day one in Dublin

Ireland 19 Australia 17

In the game of the day, Australia gave Ireland a huge fright in a fantastic end to end contest which delighted the big crowd. 

Australia would rue a straightforward conversion miss which would have handed them a vital draw but they will be proud of what was a superb performance in spite of their limited test experience in recent years. 

Australia started with blistering pace with Cheyanne Campbell, Sharni Williams and Shannon Parry all heavily involved in some great go forward play. 

Ireland were rattled but used their scrum strength to force a penalty and went back to their strengths up front. 

That almost brought early reward as they worked their way close to the line, but Nora Stapleton’s pass went awry and then Ireland knocked on just metres out.

But the try did eventually come on 20 minutes when scrum half Larissa Muldoon dived over after some excellent driving line out work a few phases earlier. 

But where Ireland were structured, Australia ran it from everywhere and their first try was suitably unorthodox. A break from Williams saw Nareta Marsters make a lot of ground out wide, and when Parry threw a fast lineout, Ireland were caught unawares and the flier Mahalia Murphy finished brilliant for a try. 

Both sides looked to mix their attacks up with Stapleton trying to bring Ali Miller in from her wing, and Australia mixing it up with Campbell bursting through the middle a couple of times and Grace Hamilton putting in the hard graft. 

Ireland led at the break but Australia’s forwards mixed their tactics up in the second half, putting Ireland under serious pressure in the scrum and taking it to the hosts at their perceived strengths in the tight exchanges.

And it paid off in the 55th minute when Shannon Parry scored after a series of well planned and executed drives in the Irish 22.  Samantha Treherne’s poor conversion attempt meant the lead was just three, much to Ireland’s relief, and the hosts came straight back into it and tearing into Australia’s half. 

Their patience was rewarded after a number of surges, when sub Ciara Griffin drove over under the posts and Stapleton’s conversion gave Ireland a 4-point lead. 

With Ireland growing in confidence a try to Sophie Spence  came after some fine play up front making19-10 with 10 minutes to go and the game looked wrapped up. 

But Australia were not done and bulldozed their way back to the Irish 22 partly thanks to a powerful burst from Hana Ngaha off the bench and the hard-working Hilisha Samoa crashed over. 

When Ashleigh Hewson, just off the bench, slotted the extras it was 19-17 with just 7 minutes to go. 

It made for a tense final few minutes but Ireland used all their experience to see the game out.

Both sides will have lots to be pleased about, though Ireland will be concerned about their scrum and their passing, which at times let them down.  Led by Claire Molloy, who was fantastic throughout, this sets Ireland up well for the challenges ahead. 

Australia will be very pleased with their performance and will not fear France in the next round. Their semi final chances remain well alive. 

IRELAND:  Hannah Tyrrell; Eimear Considine, Jenny Murphy, Sene Naoupu, Alison Miller; Nora Stapleton, Larissa Muldoon; Lindsay Peat, Cliodhna Moloney, Ailis Egan; Paula Fitzpatrick, Marie-Louise Reilly; Ashleigh Baxter, Claire Molloy (Capt), Heather O’Brien.

Replacements: Katie Fitzhenry (for Jen Murphy 47), Sophie Spence (for Fitzpatrick 50), Ciara O’Connor (for Egan 51) Ciara Griffin (for O’Brien 60) 

AUSTRALIA: Samantha Treherne, Nareta Marsters, Sharni Williams, Mahalia Murphy, Trilleen Pomare, Katrina Barker, Liz Patu,  Cheyenne Campbell, Hilisha Samoa, Chloe Butler, Millie Boyle, Mollie Gray, Shannon Parry, (capt), Grace Hamilton 

Replacements: Emily Robinson (Sydney/Warringah), Violeta Tupuola (ACT/Canberra Royals), Hana Ngaha (Queensland/Sunnybank), Rebecca Clough (Western Australia/Cottesloe), Alisha Hewett (Australian Defence Force/Queensland/GPS), Fenella Hake (Queensland/Redlands), Sarah Riordan (Australian Defence Force/Victoria/Melbourne Unicorns), Ashleigh Hewson (Sydney/Sydney University).


FRANCE 72 JAPAN 14

It took France just 12 seconds to go ahead in the final game of the opening day with Romane Menager’s determined running from the start giving Japan the worst possible start.

With Guiglion doubling the lead five minutes later, France were well in charge.

Japan, lead by Mateitoga Bogidraumainadave, were not going to roll over and fought back to halfway, Bogidraumainadave making yards every time she had the ball, but soon France scored again. A lineout on the 22 lead to the inevitable French maul. Japan had no answer and Deshayes touched down. A couple of minutes later it was the backline in action, Caroline Ladagnous showing her sevens skills to carve her way through the Japanese line. 22-0 after 17 minutes.

A yellow card for Ferer stopped the French change, and gave confidence to Japan. Some good work got them up to the French line and it was inevitably Bogidraumainadave crashing through. 22-7.

Japanese confidence continued to grow, coming up quickly on the French. Tsuki found a gap in the French line, but turnover sent Corson away for France, handing off three players before releasing Boujard. 29-7 after 30 minutes, which is how the half ended.

A key moment for Japan – and possibly for the future of their World Cup – came early in the second half with Bogidraumainadave limping off injured. Tries from Guiglion, Ladagnous and Deshayes followed in the next ten minutes as France began to pull away from Japan, who began to feel that lack of their main impact player.

The French tries kept coming at regular intervals, and then things got even worse for Japan as Makiko Tomita was red carded for a high tackle.

However, despite being a player down, Japan did not stop trying and after 78 minutes scored their second try after a long series of pick and goes on the try line, Yumeno Noda getting over under the posts. The final score was 72-14, but despite losing a key player and then going down to 14, Japan showed great character and – especially if Bogidraumainadave recovers – could yet cause future opponents problems.

France: Montserrat Amedee (Montpellier RC/FFR); Elodie Guiglion (FFR), Caroline Ladagnous (AC Bobigny 93/FFR), Elodie Poublan (Montpellier RC), Caroline Boujard (Montpellier RC); Caroline Drouin (Stade Rennais), Yanna Rivoalen (Lille Métropole RC Villeneuvois); Annaëlle Deshayes (Ovalie Caennaise), Gaëlle Mignot (Montpellier RC) (capt), Julie Duval (Ovalie Caennaise), Céline Ferer (AS Bayonne), Lenaïg Corson (Stade Rennais/FFR), Julie Annery (AC Bobigny 93), Romane Menager (Lille Métropole RC Villeneuvois), Safi N'Diaye (Montpellier RC).

Replacements: Caroline Thomas (ASM Romagnat), Lise Arricastre (Lons Rugby Féminin Béarn Pyrénées), Patricia Carricaburu (Lons Rugby Féminin Béarn Pyrénées), Audrey Forlani (Blagnac Saint-Orens Rugby Féminin), Marjorie Mayans (Blagnac Saint-Orens Rugby Féminin/FFR), Audrey Abadie (Blagnac Saint-Orens Rugby Féminin), Carla Neisen (Blagnac Saint-Orens Rugby Féminin), Chloé Pelle (Lille Métropole RC Villeneuvois/FFR).

Japan: Mayu Shimizu (Nippon Sport Science Univ); Eriko Hirano (Yokohama TKM), Iroha Nagata (Arukas Queen Kumagaya), Makiko Tomita (Setagaya Ladies), Honoka Tsutsumi (Nippon Sport Science Univ); Minori Yamamoto (Nippon Sport Science Univ), Moe Tsukui (The Second HS, Tokyo University of Agriculture); Makoto Ebuchi (Aoyama Gakuin Univ/Tokyo Phoenix RC), Seina Saito (Pearls) (capt), Saki Minami (Nippon Sport Science Univ), Aoi Mimura (Yokohama TKM), Ayano Sakurai (Nippon Sport Science Univ), Yuki Sue (Arukas Queen Kumagaya), Ayaka Suzuki (Arukas Queen Kumagaya), Mateitoga Bogidraumainadave (Arukas Queen Kumagaya).

Replacements: Misaki Suzuki (Tokyo Phoenix RC), Mizuho Kataoka (Yokohama TKM), Maiko Fujimoto (Yokohama TKM), Maki Takano (Nippon Sport Science Univ), Aya Nakajima (Arukas Queen Kumagaya), Yumeno Noda (Arukas Queen Kumagaya), Wasana Fukushima (Otemon Gakuin Univ), Riho Kurogi (Arukas Queen Kumagaya).