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Hosts top team on Day 1 in Langford

Canada were the best performing team on the first day in Langford – but can they carry that into Day 2?

Canada gave their home crowd a great deal to cheer about, topping a tough pool with big wins and finishing the day as the best performing team, well set for today and a quarter-final with England. But they have fallen at this stage for the past two years – will the curse of the hosts hit them again?

The day began with some exciting ties. England just fell short in a come-back against the United States, Netherlands nearly caused one of the biggest shocks ever against New Zealand – two points down in possession on the final play before a Ferns steal finished it, and then Ireland came back from the dead – 14-0 down with the clock running out – to win 19-14.  France also achieved a great win over Russia 24-7, but while Australia and Canada looked ominously good beating Spain and Brazil.

Round two saw New Zealand looking unimpressive again – but still doing enough to win – before Spain now upset the Fijians, 12-7, their delight palpable as it put them on the verge of a possible quarter-final. France, as usual it is tempting to say, failed to follow up a great opening round as they lost heavily to Canada while Ireland were also unable to find their form again in a three-try loss to Australia.

The final round opened with two massive wins for the USA and New Zealand over Netherlands and England, the Ferns finding their form for the first time. Michaela Blyde in particular put England to the sword with five tries which also made her the day’s top “impact player” – an interesting measure that also put Timaima Ravisa in second place despite her team’ results. The leading players after day one appear below.

After England had only scored three tries against the Dutch their now negative points difference would give them a tense few minutes as their quarter-final spot was now out of their hands. However, the Irish did them a favour next up, beating Spain 21-0 a result that put both them and England into the last eight.

Fiji said they were targeting Australia and New Zealand this weekend, and now had to beat the former to make the quarters – and came so close to doing so. In the match of the day Australia only just stole a tie from the final play, condemning Fiji to the Challenger for the first time this season.

So, today’s quarter-finals see the hosts, Canada, with a tricky tie against England; Australia against upset-specialists the United States; and all-European match-up between France and Ireland; and New Zealand take on Europe’s top team Russia.

But it’s the Challenge Trophy that has the vital games with Spain and Brazil again fighting for every point. The former has the better draw, against the Netherlands, while Brazil will be hoping that Fiji will be distracted by their failure to make the quarters.

Results

Pool A: England 19-21 USA; New Zealand 17-10 Netherlands; England 26-0 Netherlands; New Zealand 7-0 USA; USA 57-0 Netherlands; New Zealand 43-7 England

Pool B: Russia 7-24 France; Canada 33-5 Brazil; Russia 20-5 Brazil; Canada 33-0 France; France 36-5 Brazil; Canada 24-10 Russia

Pool C: Fiji 14-19 Ireland; Australia 26-0 Spain Fiji 7-12 Spain; Australia 21-0 Ireland; Ireland 21-0 Spain; Australia 24-24 Fiji

DHL Performance Tracker: “Impact” player

 

 

Tackles

Breaks

Offloads

Carries

Total

1

Michaela Blyde (NZL)

9

7

1

11

28

2

Timaima Ravisa (FIJ)

10

3

3

9

25

3

Baizat Khamidova (RUS)

7

2

5

10

24

4

Montserrat Amedee (FRA)

7

4

1

11

23

=

Amee Leigh Murphy Crowe (IRE)

5

5

1

12

23

6

Cheta Emba (USA)

5

3

2

12

22

7

Brittany Benn (CAN)

6

5

2

8

21