Holders England booked a Women’s Rugby World Cup final appointment with New Zealand after beating France 20-3 in Belfast.
Prop Sarah Bern and substitute back Megan Jones scored second-half tries during an absorbing defence-dominated contest at Kingspan Stadium.
Centre Emily Scarratt, who was the star of the show when England defeated Canada to be crowned world champions in Paris three years ago, kicked two penalties and two conversions, setting up a mouthwatering showdown against the Black Ferns in four days’ time.
New Zealand, recently installed as the world-ranked No. 1 team, secured their place in the final by brushing aside the United States 45-12, yet England toppled them when the countries last met two months ago.
Portia Woodman was again the main attacking threat for the Black Ferns. Charles McQuillan – World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images
Earlier, Black Ferns wing Portia Woodman scored four tries as her side cruised past the U.S. in Belfast.
Woodman proved unstoppable at the Kingspan Stadium, with the world No. 1-ranked nation crossing for seven tries.
The U.S. led early in the first-half following a Kris Thomas try that Alev Kelter converted, but once the Black Ferns found their rhythm, there was no stopping them.
The four-time world champions took a third-minute lead when fly-half Victoria Subritzky-Nafatali touched down, and after their opponents briefly led, a Kendra Cocksedge penalty edged New Zealand back in front before she converted Woodman’s opener to secure a 15-7 interval advantage.
A second Woodman score and Cocksedge penalty opened up a 16-point gap, and then New Zealand underlined their quality during a blistering final quarter that saw them claim four tries in 15 minutes.
Woodman added two more, then replacement hooker Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate claimed another touchdown before Kelly Brazier completed an emphatic second-half display and Cocksedge converted.
Australia’s players celebrate their win against hosts Ireland at Kingspan Stadium. David Rogers/Getty Images
Earlier, Ireland‘s hopes of contesting the fifth place playoff were ended by a 36-24 defeat to Australia in Belfast.
The game was in the balance with the scores tied at 12-12 after 34 minutes.
But Australia powered away with 24 unanswered points either side of half-time.
The Wallaroos will now play Canada for fifth place, after the Canucks eased past Wales 52-0.
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WRWC: England to face Black Ferns in final
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