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New Zealand’s Portia Woodman (centre) scores a try against Wales at Waitakere Stadium in Auckland. Photo: AFP

Women’s Rugby World Cup: New Zealand trounce Wales to lock up spot in the last eight; Canada too strong for Italy

  • Reigning champions delight home fans in irresistible 10-try rout at Waitakere Stadium in Auckland
  • Prolific winger Portia Woodman takes career tally of World Cup tries to 18 in seven matches

Reigning champions and tournament hosts New Zealand overwhelmed Wales 56-12 at the women’s Rugby World Cup on Sunday to lock up the top spot in Pool A and a place in the quarter-finals along with England and Canada.

Prolific winger Portia Woodman and 18-year-old centre Sylvia Brunt both crossed twice as the five-times world champions ran in 10 tries in a bonus point win to delight the crowd at the Waitakere Stadium in the suburbs of Auckland.

Woodman’s combination of power and pace was all but irresistible at times as she improved her tally to 18 tries in seven career World Cup matches and her overall mark to 36 in 22 tests.

Australia, USA post first wins at women’s Rugby World Cup

Brunt scored the pick of the tries with her second effort, however, crossing in the 49th minute at the end of a sweeping 80-metre attack in which the ball passed through a series of New Zealand hands.

“I’m really proud of our mental strength,” said New Zealand captain Ruahei Demant.

“I’m happy that we had the courage to play into space regardless of where we were on the field and didn’t take the easy road by taking contact all the time.”

With some dominant scrums and powerful rolling mauls, Wales gave New Zealand a reminder of potential challenges ahead if, as looks likely, they meet European powers England and France later in the tournament.

It was from the line-out drive, a major weapon for tournament favourites England, that the Welsh scored both of their tries through scrum-half Ffion Lewis and number eight Sioned Harries.

Sioned Harries scores for Wales against New Zealand. Photo: Reuters

Any hopes of a comeback after Lewis’s try just before halftime were quickly extinguished, though, when Black Ferns lock Maiakawanakaulani Roos and centre Theresa Fitzpatrick crossed for tries in the four minutes after the restart.

New Zealand number eight Charmaine McMenamin was in the sin bin for the last 10 minutes but the New Zealanders still added further tries from fly half Demant and fullback Ruby Tui, the latter set up almost inevitably by another Woodman break.

“It was a brutal 80 minutes,” said Wales skipper Siwan Lillicrap.

“I’ve got to credit the Black Ferns. When they throw the ball around, their pick-and goes, their offloads, their strength, they are brutal.”

While New Zealand can afford to rest some of their players for their final pool match against winless Scotland, Wales now almost certainly need to beat Australia next week to reach the knockout rounds.

Canada’s Maddy Grant burst forward during her side’s game against Italy. Photo: EPA-EFE

Canada 22 Italy 12

Emily Tuttosi continued her unlikely try-scoring spree at the women’s Rugby World Cup as Canada eased past in Auckland on Sunday to take control of their pool.

Hooker Tuttosi scored two of the Canucks’ four tries as they shook off a nightmare start to make it two bonus point wins from two games.

In a tournament dominated so far by tries to outside backs, the 27-year-old forward has broken the mould, having registered a hat-trick in Canada’s opening 41-5 defeat of Japan.

Tuttosi, who had only crossed the try line twice in 10 previous Tests, can thank her forward pack, who have set up all her five tries with powerful driving play.

That strength was too much for Italy, whose classy backs were starved of the possession they had enjoyed in last week’s 22-10 win over the United States.