RWC Wrap Week Three: Contenders make statement as road to final is confirmed

The quarter-finalists are locked in for Rugby World Cup 2021 (playing in 2022) as the tournament heavyweights start to hit form at the right time.New Zealand produced a dominant display over Scotland whilst France proved too strong for Fiji.Meanwhile, Italy's win over Japan ensured they were the first Italian team, male or female, to book their place in the knockout stages for the hallmark breaks down week three of the 2021 Rugby World Cup.Australia 13 def Wales 7The Wallaroos have booked their place in the quarter-finals with a narrow 13-7 win over Wales in Whangarei.Jay Tregonning's side started strong as scrumhalf Iliseva Batibasaga dived under the posts for the opening try after five minutes.Wales hit back via Sioned Harries before a Lori Cramer penalty put Australia up 10-7 at the breakThe Wallaroos dominated the second half, however, struggled to turn it into points as Wales hang in the contest.A late yellow card to Kaitlan Leaney gave Wales a chance to strike before Cramer's second penalty of the game sealed the win.Quotes“It's massive for this group of girls to have come all this way and make it to the quarter finals. That was the first box we wanted to tick and we made it and now the tournament opens up. I’m really proud of the girls today to get out there and win against a really strong Wales team. Our defensive skills in the last 10 minutes were a true test of our character. We have been working really hard on our defensive systems and it’s really good to see it paying off out there today.” – Wallaroos captain Shannon Parry"We’re gutted after that result but we put 100 percent into it. We capitalized on some opportunities and hopefully we will make it through next week. We had some good defensive sets there and the girls really showed heart but we’re just disappointed with the result so we’ll pick our heads up now and do it all again.” Welsh captain Hannah JonesScoresAustralia 13 (TRIES: Iliseva Batibasaga; CONS: Lori Cramer; PENS: Lori Cramer 2) def Wales 7 (TRIES: Sioned Harries; CONS: Elinor Snowsill)New Zealand 57 def Scotland 0The Black Ferns have delighted a strong Whangarei crowd with a blistering 57-0 victory over Scotland.Black Ferns fullback Renee Holmes opened the scoring and bagged two tries in a 22-point haul while winger Renee Wickliffe also crossed for a brace.Needing a bonus-point victory to secure top ranking for the quarter-finals, the Kiwis achieved this inside the first quarter as they dominated their opposition, who were limited to under 50 metres for the first half.They raced out to a 45-0 lead at the break before cruising home to secure maximum points from the group stages.Quotes“I just want to thank Scotland. Great match today, it was really hard and I don't think the score really showed how hard the game was. But just proud of how our girls, through the week we've been working on certain things and we really executed that in our first half today.” New Zealand captain Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu“Obviously gutted to finish our tournament. We had goals of getting to the quarter-finals and beyond. But what I would say is it’s taken us 12 years to be here, and I think we’ve proved these last three weeks that we deserve to be here and it will not take 12 years for us to be here again.” Scotland captain Rachel MalcolmScoresNew Zealand 57 (TRIES: Renee Holmes (2), Ayesha Leti-l'iga, Sarah Hirini, Liana Mikaele-Tu'u, Theresa Fitzpatrick, Renee Wickliffe (2), Maia Roos; CONS: Renee Holmes (6) def Scotland 0France 44 def Fiji 0France have bounced back from their tough loss with England as they shutout Fiji 44-0.Les Bleues controlled proceedings virtually from the first whistle, as they built a three-try 20-0 lead by half-time. With second place in Pool C up for grabs, Maelle Filopon's second try for the game secured the bonus point as they raced away with the victory.Two late tries to Emilie Boulard and Celia Domain capped off the dominant performance to secure a top four finish whilst eliminating an ill-disciplined Fiji from finals contention.Quotes"We are very proud of our performance, we really wanted to get this win, knowing that afterwards there is a quarter final to prepare. It also allowed us to gain points in the ranking and to have this bonus to be even better ranked, to be able to have a quarter-final with a great game. We are very proud because we wanted to repeat the defensive performance we produced last week against England. And today I think we were also able to prove that offensively we were able to threaten, to be dangerous like the tries scored by the back line. So, very proud of the state of mind.” France captain Gaëlle Hermet“We had a hard time finding our momentum – most of the mistakes we made, they definitely took advantage of those. We spent a lot of time in their half and it was hard to come back to our half. As a team we struggled a lot to get ourselves together, defensively and offensively, and we know that.” Fiji captain Asinate Serevi ScoresFrance 44 (TRIES: Marine Menager, Melissande Llorens, Maelle Filopon (2), Emeline Gros, Emilie Boulard, Celia Domain; CONS: Jessy Tremouliere (3); PENS: Jessy Tremouliere) def Fiji 0Italy 21 def Japan 8Italy have survived a scare to defeat Japan 21-8, booking their place in the quarter-finals for the first time in history.Kyoko Hosokawa's 30th-minute try equalled out Maria Magatti opening effort as the Japanese looked to cause a major upset in Auckland.However, the boot of Michela Sillari proved too strong as she kicked three penalties to extend the margin.This cemented Sillari as the highest point-scorer for her country as the Italians dominated the second half of their final group match.A late try to Melissa Bettoni helped seal the win and their place in the knockout stages.Quotes“I’m very happy with the outcome of us making it to the quarter-finals but I am not very happy with the overall performance. We lost control of the match so in that sense congratulations to Japan and their great performance. We have to work hard for our next game because we can’t lose possession, we have to make sure we don’t make any mistakes and work hard.” – Italy coach Andrea Di Giandomenico“We were able to have the game in the Italy side and score a try and also we were patient enough in defense and that’s the takeaways from this game I think. The game plan today was to attack was to defend throughout using the outer side. I think we were able to execute that game plan but we weren’t able to win the game and we lost so in that sense we didn’t execute the game plan enough.” – Japan captain Saki MinamiScoresItaly 21 (TRIES: Maria Magatti, Melissa Bettoni; CONS: Michela Sillari; PENS: Michela Sillari (3) def Japan 8 (TRIES: Kyoko Hosokawa; PENS: Ayasa Otsuka)Canada 29 def USA 14Canada have secured their spot on top of Pool B with a 29-14 victory over the USA.Canada's driving play proved the difference in a bruising North American clash in which they scored five tries to two.Emily Tuttosi set the tone for the Canadians when she crossed in the fifth minute.Further tries to Alex Tessier and Paige Farries extended the lead to 19-7 at halftime before replacement forwards Olivia DeMerchant and Mikiela Nelson completed the scoring.The two teams will do it all again in the quarter-finals, with the USA qualifying as one of two third-place finishers.England 75 def South Africa 0England have sent a timely reminder of their dominance with a 75-0 thumping of South Africa to round off the pool stages.A rampant England showed why they are tournament favourites in a muscular display where forwards scored 12 of their 13 tries.Debutant lock Rosie Galligan and hooker Connie Powell scored a hat-trick of tries, while there were doubles for backrower Poppy Cleall and replacement flanker Sadia Kabeya.The world number ones will take a third seeding into the quarter-finals behind hosts New Zealand and Canada as they failed to earn a bonus point in last week's 13-7 defeat of France.Quotes“It was a phenomenal performance from the girls, I am super-proud. It is my first-time captaining England and to do it with this calibre of players is just amazing. We had 13 Rugby World Cup debutants today and they massively put their hands up. Playing any team in the World Cup is tough and South Africa asked us real questions in that first half. But we stuck to our game plan, we did what we needed to do and we got the result we wanted.” – England captain Marlie Packer“We did good in the first 20 minutes of the game, everything was on point and everyone knew exactly what to do and there were some positive carries and hits. We showed character against the number one team in the world. We squeezed them in the corner and put them under pressure. We can take a lot from that first 20 minutes. But our mauls were not at 100 percent and that’s when everything began to get messy.” South Africa captain Nolusindiso BooiScoresEngland 75 (TRIES: Rosie Galligan (3), Poppy Cleall (2), Shaunagh Brown, Connie Powell (3), Marlie Packer (51'), Sadia Kabeya (2), Abby Dow (64'); CONS: Zoe Harrison (4), Helena Rowland) def South Africa 0Click Here: Graphic Overlays

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