2014 Women's Rugby World Cup
New Zealand stunned but England win again
ESPN Staff
August 5, 2014
Ireland proved a tough opponent for favourites New Zealand © IRB

Ireland provided the shock of the Women's Rugby World Cup so far as they fought back to beat defending champions and heavy favourites New Zealand 17-14 in France.

New Zealand had to hold off an early assault from Ireland but looked set to cruise to victory when they moved into an 8-0 lead thanks to Kelly Brazier's penalty and an unconverted try from Selica Winiata. But Ireland hit back in the 34th minute when Heather O'Brien went over and Niamh Briggs converted to get the underdogs within one at half time.

Brazier kicked three more points early in the second half, but Ireland's resilient frontline battled hard and Alison Miller's try, also converted by Briggs, saw them lead 14-11. A third Brazier penalty levelled matters but, with 10 minutes to play, Briggs kicked a penalty of her own to snatch victory and spark wild celebrations in the Marcoussis sun.

England made no such mistakes as they saw off a resilient Spain 45-5.

England's Danielle Waterman makes a break, 2014 Women's Rugby World Cup, Marcoussis, August 5, 2014
Danielle Waterman scored England's second try © IRB

England now have a maximum haul of 10 points from their first two matches heading into Saturday's final pool stage match against Canada. They were made to work for their 17-0 half-time lead with Kay Wilkins and Danielle Waterman both crossing the whitewash as Gary Street's side found it hard to break down the Spanish defence.

Come the second-half England, who had Lydia Thompson pull out in the run up to the match, had more joy near the tryline with Laura Keates crossing after a dominant rolling maul and Claire Allen securing the bonus point moments later.

Marlie Packer scored England's fifth with a powerful, bulldozing effort but the loudest cheer was reserved for Marina Bravo when she darted over from close range for Spain.

England had the final say of the match when the superb Packer crossed on the full-time whistle.

England will now play a Pool A decider against Canada after the North Americans also scored six tries to run out comfortable 42-7 winners against Samoa.

Brittany Waters went over twice to add to scores from Mandy Marchak, Elissa Alarie, Stephanie Bernier and Andrea Burk. Ginia Muavae replied for Samoa.

Australia made it two wins from two with a 25-3 win over Wales. Australia were in control from the start when an early penalty was followed up with a score from Shani Williams and they were 17-0 up by the break when Tricia Brown crossed. Following the break, Rachel Taylor saw yellow for Wales and Brown grabbed her second and despite Wales attempting to get a foothold in the game, they could only muster a penalty from Robyn Wilkins.

Hosts France thrashed South Africa 55-3 to set up a Pool C decider with Australia.

France dominated from the off and scored eight tries - two each from Safi N'Diaye, Elodie Poublan and Christelle Le Duff, while Assa Koita and Camille Grassineau also went over. Zenay Jordaan's penalty was South Africa's only response.

The USA secured a maximum haul of points thanks to a comfortable eight-try 47-7 win over Kazakhstan. It was Kazakhstan who crossed first through Anna Takoleva but their joy proved to be short-lived as the USA racked up the bonus point just after half-time. In total seven different players scored for the USA with Sylvia Braaten grabbing a brace of tries.

Australia and Wales contest a lineout © IRB
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