WRWC2017 Day One: Top Three Women’s Sides Win Big In Cup Opener

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New Zealand v Wales - Women's Rugby World Cup 2017
DUBLIN, IRELAND - AUGUST 09: Selica Winiata of New Zealand breaks clear to score a try during the Women's Rugby World Cup 2017 match between New Zealand and Wales on August 9, 2017 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images).

The 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup (WRWC2017) kicked-off in style as the top three sides won big on WRWC2017 Day One in Dublin. Billings Park and the UCD Bowl hosted the opening round games.

Fans and viewers from around the globe enjoyed six matches on day one. This tournament, the pinnacle of Women’s Rugby, is literally, every ‘rugby girls dream’.  A young 17-year old scrum-half from Japan was a big testament to that ethos.

WRWC2017 Day One

The top three ranked sides in the world swept easily through their opponents today. Some were one sided, but the ‘match of the day’ between Ireland and the Australian Wallaroos went right down to the wire, as predicted by Last Word on Rugby.

Asian minnows Hong Kong and Japan were thrashed, while the Italians and the Spanish struggling to find their feet. Harriett ‘the poacher’ Millar-Mills was on top of her game for the English, as was So was Magali Harvey of Canada and Mahalia Murphy for the Wallaroos. Selica Winiata was a huge hit, adding to her tally of six World Cup tries.

So along with the action, came the excitement. Every team interviewed seems to have had the same problem; how to hold back their excitement. Once every four years, this is a limited opportunity.

Top Three Women’s Sides Win Big on Day One

Match 1: England 56 Spain 5

It was a tough ask for the Las Leonas to overcome the World Number One side. However. it was a great game to start the tournament. Harriet Millar-Mills was on fire with the English while winger Iera Echeberria led the way for the Spanish.

Katy Mclean was outstanding at flyhalf dictating play well. Emily Scarratt was superb off the bench in a all-round English performance. The Roses scored 10 tries to one with three conversions. Blindside winger Kay Wilson picked up a hat-trick.

Player of the Match

Katy Mclean earned praise for her role in the victory. A member of the victorious Six Nations squad, she is carrying on the good form of the last 12 months.

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Match 2: New Zealand 44 Wales 12

The New Zealand Black Ferns opened their campaign in high fashion against Wales. They scored eight tries in total, against two scored from the Welsh.

The ‘sensational’ Selica Winiata (see main picture) picked up three tries. While Renee Wickliffe grabbed herself a double. Other tries were scored by Portia Woodman, lock Eloise Blackwell and Stacey Waaka.

The win was a perfect gift for lock Becky Wood who celebrated her 30th birthday. Young 17-year old flanker Llecu George came off the bench for her debut together with 18-year old hooker Kelsey Jones. What a moment it was for the two teenagers.

Wales Will Need to Look at Reducing Errors

It was a hard match for the Welsh, trying to contain the fast-paced New Zealand game. The Kiwi backs dictated play with Renne Wycliffe and Kelly Brazier turning up the heat in the centres. Apart from Kendra Cocksedge being sent to the bin and missed conversions, it was an error free game for the Black Ferns.

Wales must look at their strengths–over the ball, they had good possession, and pushed the Black Ferns pack. If Wales reduce their own errors, create more space and if the Scarlets are able to retain some confidence, they can only improve from here.

Player of The Match

‘The New Zealand Black Ferns’ road to redemption gets off to a fantastic start with an emphatic win. The World Rugby hashtag is #BringIt for this WRWC tournament, and that’s what the Kiwi girls have done. But, as commentator Willie Lose said post-game,

“take nothing away from this courageous and fearless Welsh team.”

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Match 3: United States 24 Italy 12

Within two minutes from the kick-off sevens star winger Kristen Thomas was on the board for the Eagles. Thomas grabbed two of their four tries, along with two conversions.

The Italians scored through hooker Lucia Cammarano and flanker Elisa Giardano. It was a close match, but both sides  have a lot to work on.

Player of the Match

Sara Parsons had a terrific game, and she will be a mainstay of the group. Hard-charging runs on attack, bone-crunching tackles on defence, that is what you ask of your players.

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Match 4: Canada 98 Hong Kong 0

Magali Harvey was the toast of her Canadian side as she grabbed five of their 16 tries. It as a nightmare of a reality check for the Hong Kong sides but they will learn from the game.

True, the Canadians had a walk in the park – it was like watching a sevens game. But they will take the confidence out of this game, and look for a bigger challenge on Saturday. Hong Kong, well they will just want to ‘form up’ their defence and look to challenge when an opportunity presents itself.

The Hong Kong side became the 19th nation to feature at the Women’s World Cup, since its inception in Wales, 1991.

Player of The Match

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Match 5: Ireland 19 Australia 17

The match of the round lived up to expectations. This huge clash went to the wire, with hosts winning on WRWC2017 Day One. Both sides scored three tries a piece with the conversions the difference.

The big Irish pack were dominant with Aussie sevens stars Shannon Parry and Mahalia Murphy showing their versatility. It was a great start for both sides, as they each will have the powerful French team to counter later.

Player of the Match

Irish lock Marie Louise Reilly earned much reward for pressuring the Wallaroos lineout. She stole ball and leant her physical weight to much of Ireland’s attack. Also needed in defence, her guts exhibited the character of the Irish girls.

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Match 6: France 72 Japan 14

The Frech outclassed Japan in the final game of the day. They scored 12 tries with Caroline Ladagnous scoring a hat-trick. It was a fast-paced entertaining game but the French backs were on fire. Like other teams in the competition it was their sevens stars who led the attack pouncing like hungry lions on loose balls.

Big battle between the Number eights were minimum with Mateitoga Bogidrau getting little go forward balls. Young Moe Tsukui had a dream debut.

Player of the Match

With three tries, it was hard to ignore Caroline Ladagnous. The Olympic Games outside back was in outstanding form. Benefiting from the powerful French side, she may target the World Cup record if the French can continue to set her up with ‘meat pies’.

WRWC2017 Day One: Standings

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Day Two Fixtures: Saturday August 13

Pool A – 11:00 GMT – New Zealand v Hong Kong; Billings Park, Dublin
Pool B – 13:30 GMT – England v Italy; Billings Park
Pool B – 13:45 GMT – USA v Spain; UCD Bowl, Dublin
Pool A – 16:00 GMT – Canada v Wales; Billings Park
Pool C – 16:15 GMT – Ireland v Japan; UCD Bowl
Pool C – 18:45 GMT – France v Australia; UCD Bowl

Fans will again descend on the UCD sports complex, and will hope for more brilliant sunshine. The colours and enjoyment of WRWC2017 Day One was evident–with all nationalities mixing in a friendly atmosphere.

“Main photo credit”
Embed from Getty Images

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