Via RLWC2017 Media
Cook Islands 22 d England 16
England were able to claw their way back from the jaws of defeat after trailing 16-0 at half-time, but their three unanswered tries in the second-half weren’t enough as Te Amohaere Ngata-Aerengamate crossed with just 30 seconds remaining to give the Cook Islands their first victory of the tournament.
Chantelle Inangaro Schofield had a brilliant game as she ran for over 200 metres and crossed for a try, while Amy Hardcastle was a shining light in a losing side.
England got off to a flying start with back-rower Shoan Boyle bursting onto a short ball and racing through the middle-third, however her offload couldn’t be contained by her players in support.
Despite the strong start, Cook Islands earned themselves first points of the contest after winger Beniamina Koiatu finished off a short-side raid with an athletic finish in the left-hand corner.
Although both teams were battling fiercely for valuable field position, the Cook Islands had the perfect chance to claim back-to-back tries with an array of attacking raids on the opposition goal-line, but the scrambling defence of England was unable to be broken.
The Cook Island responded with some brutal defensive efforts that forced an array of handling errors from England but failed to extend their lead with some costly mistakes of their own.
Elusive fullback Kiana Takaraingi was enjoying a promising first-half with some evasive carries from her own end, but was struck with an ankle injury in a brutal blow for the Cook Islands.
Despite losing a crucial attacking weapon, the Cook Islands found another four-pointer with hooker Katelyn Arona barging her way over from close range.
Schofield converted from in-front to take a 10-0 lead with just 10 minutes remaining in the first-half.
With a wave of momentum behind them, Cook Islands were relentless in their first-half onslaught with a left-to-right shift resulting in their third unanswered try to Cecelia Strickland.
Although earning their own chances to finish the first-half strongly, ill-discipline was England’s biggest enemy and eventually trailed 16-o at half-time.
The half-time message from head-coach Chris Chapman seemed to spark some life into his struggling side, with England capitalising on their first real chance through the hard-running Emma Slowe who crashed her way over the their first try of the afternoon.
Claire Garner converted to reduce the lead to two after 50 minutes of play.
Brimming with a new-found confidence, England forced another Cook Islands error which led to Hardcastle bursting through some flimsy defence from the ensuing scrum for a much-needed try.
Garner again converted to set the score at 16-12 with 25 minutes remaining.
Hardcastle attempted to inspire her team with a brilliant run down the right-hand side after barging off a host of defenders, but the Cook Islands defence held their own and were able to force her into touch.
England were desperately fighting to level the scores as they continuously peppered the Cook Islands goal-line, and they looked to have scored the crucial try but the video referee couldn’t find sufficient evidence to confirm the grounding.
They earned a quick reprieve with a repeat set to salvage a last-gasp try but couldn’t maintain possession with another unforced error.
Despite a victory looking more and more unlikely, a perfect last tackle grubber from Faye Gaskin landed in the arms of Kayleigh Bulamn who miraculously stayed in the field of play o plant the ball down in the left-hand corner.
Garner was unable to nail the sideline conversion with the scores leveleld at 16-all with just three minutes remaining in the contest.
With a draw the likely result, the Cook Islands pulled off the impossible with a break down the right-hand side giving them valuable field position, before a series of offloads found Te Amohaere Ngata-Aerengamate who snuck her way over for the match-winning try and claim a remarkable 22-16 victory.
Australia 88 d Canada 0
Maddie Studdon was at her brilliant best, totally taking control of the match with her passing and kicking game that saw her set up five tries and score one, while her halves partner Ali Brigginshaw continued her fantastic tournament.
Four hat-tricks were scored in the match, with Vanessa Foliaki, Elianna Walton, Karina Brown and Zahara Temara enjoying high-scoring afternoon’s out, with the latter getting hers in the opening 33 minutes.
Maddie Studdon showed her pure class which opened the scoring for the Jillaroos, throwing a perfect pass to put Vanessa Foliaki on the outside of her defender and she subsequently strolled over.
In almost identical circumstances, Studdon threw the same pass in a similar position on the field just moments later as she put Zahara Temara over, before she was in the thick of the action again when she showed the ball right and turned it inside for Corban McGregor to score the Jillaroos’ third try.
Temara was the one setting up the next four-pointer from the Jillaroos when she found space on the right side once again, drew the defence and passed to an open Chelsea Baker who had nothing in front of her on the way to the try-line.
The halves linked for Australia’s fifth try of the afternoon when Ali Brigginshaw needled a neat grubber whilst on the attack, and Studdon picked it up after a deflection to score.
Studdon was causing havoc for Canada, and her passing game once again led to a try on the right side when she again put Temara outside her defender to run away and increase their lead to 28-0.
All six tries had come while on the attack for the Jillaroos thus far, but that changed when McGregor scored an impressive long-range solo effort off a 20-metre tap.
Temara secured her hat-trick down the right-edge deep into the first half, but that wouldn’t be the final scoring play before the break, as inspirational veteran Ruan Sims bulldozed her way over under the posts to increase their lead to 44-0.
Australia picked up where they left off to open the second half after earning back-to-back sets bringing up the half century when Brigginshaw offloaded to a rampaging Elianna Walton, who would not be stopped.
The next two tries was a case of class versus power, with a long ball from Brigginshaw have Foliaki her second try before Walton pinned the ears back and crashed through multiple defenders to put her name on the scoresheet for the second time too.
Foliaki secured her hat-trick just after the hour mark, before Lavina O’Mealey burst through down the left edge before passing to Karina brown who scored in the corner.
Baker got her second of the afternoon with a brilliant solo effort from inside her own half which included two sharp left-foot steps to burn the defence, before some nice work out of dummy half by Brittany Brealey created space for Brown’s second try.
Walton secured her impressive second half hat-trick when she crashed on to a Studdon short ball to move the Jillaroos passed 80, before Brown hit the accelerator off the kick-off to bag her third.
New Zealand 38 d Papua New Guinea 0
Despite the Ferns crossing for two tries in the opening ten minutes, the Orchids were able to hold out an array of attacking raids to keep the score to just 8-0 at half-time.
Their efforts were to no avail, however, as the Ferns put together a clinical second stanza with Annetta Nuuausala and Maitua Feterika inspiring the hard-fought win.
Luisa Gago gave New Zealand the early buffer as she zig-zagged her way through multiple Orchids defenders to sneak her way over the try-line.
It wasn’t long before they extended their lead after fullback Raecene McGregor crashed her way over for their second unanswered try.
Papua New Guinea showed their resilience with some committed goal-line defence holding out a third Ferns try, but their success didn’t resonate with the ball-in-hand with New Zealand holding them out at the opposing end.
Both teams were fighting valiantly in a third-hitting contest that saw some brutally absorbing tackles on either side of the ball, and New Zealand looked to have finally made a breakthrough with Maitua Feterika slicing through but eventually knocked the ball forward just metres out from the try line.
Just moments later, a scorching kick at the opposing end from PNG halfback Amelia Kuk ricocheted off the post and planted down by the scrambling Orchids attackers, but the video referee ruled there was a knock-on in the process of scoring.
As their only chance went begging, they were able to maintain the 8-point deficit at half-time despite conceding two tries in the opening ten minutes of play.
The Ferns began the first-half with some great lead-up play from McGregor and Georgia Hale as they broke the line to earn their side great field position, but the scrambling PNG defence was able to hold out the raid.
New Zealand thought they had grabbed their much-needed just a few tackles later after a classy backline movement saw Feterika crash over in the right-hand corner, but some desperate defence from Male Mar stripped the ball in the process of scoring.
Despite their gallant efforts, they couldn’t stop winger Hilda Peters scoring in the opposite corner after a swift right-to-left shift.
Ngatokotoru Arakua was unable to convert from the sideline as the Ferns held onto a handy 12-0 lead.
With a wave of momentum behind them, the Ferns were able to strike shortly after with centre Amber Kani crossing the line before Fetrika scored their fifth unanswered try in similar fashion just two minutes later.
Although conceding three tries within a relentless 15 minute period, PNG clawed their way back with Joan Kuman going close to scoring but was forced into touch by the gutsy Ferns defence.
Their defensive efforts were rewarded with a four-pointer at the opposite end after some barnstorming runs through the middle-third gave them valuable field position, before going through the hands to give Atawhai Tupaea open space and give them a 26-point lead with just over 20 minutes remaining.
Brimming with confidence, the Ferns weren’t afraid to throw the ball around and they found themselves scoring a contender for try of the tournament, with a series of offloads eventually leading to Racquel Anderson crossing for their seventh try of the tournament.
Anderson was unable to convert her own try as the Ferns ran away with a comfortable 30-0 lead with 15 minutes remaining in the contest.
Annetta Nuuausala and Amber Kani put the icing on the cake in the closing stages with tries of their own to finish off a 38-0 win.