Draw sends England into semi-finals

Sarah Hunter scored England's only try of the match

Sarah Hunter scored England's only try of the match

First published in National Sport © by

England advanced to the Women's Rugby World Cup semi-finals on Saturday afternoon following a nail-biting 13-13 draw against Canada in Marcoussis.

Captain Sarah Hunter scored England's only try, midway through the second half, with centre Emily Scarratt converting and adding two penalties.

The result meant defending champions New Zealand could not now reach the last four, while Canada were left to wait on other results going their way.

An early Scarratt penalty had put Gary Street's side 3-0 up, but Canada hit back and, after a spell of sustained pressure, flanker Karen Paquin barged her way over the line from a well-worked driving maul.

Both sides had chances as the half progressed, most notably England when Ceri Large twice put through good kicks. But Danielle Waterman knocked on just short of the line and then Kat Merchant did likewise in the tackle over the line.

A second Scarratt penalty on the stroke of half-time restored England's lead, however, and they went in 6-5 to the good.

Canada started the second 40 with real intent and put pressure on the English defence, which told after 46 minutes when replacement Kayla Mack pushed her way over to make it 10-6.

England finally touched down for their only try after a spell deep in the Canada 22. After a strong scrum, Hunter was on hand at the base to dot down, and Scarratt's conversion made it 13-10.

Canada wing Magali Harvey slotted home a penalty to make it 13-13 with seven minutes to go but, as the clock ticked past 80, England knew a draw would be enough and scrum-half Natasha Hunt found touch to bring the game to a close.

Hunter said: "It was physical and competitive. We knew that Canada would front up and they definitely brought their game to us.

"We know that we've been in a battle and it was a great game to be involved in. We're delighted to get out of the pool - that's what it was always about.

"We know that we are going to have to improve on today's performance, but we have a few days now and we'll look to recover and switch focus on to the next one."

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