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England sink Wallaroos in rainy World Cup quarter-final

By AAP
Sarah Hunter secures the line out for England. Photo by MICHAEL BRADLEY/AFP via Getty Images

Jay Tregonning’s Wallaroos side are heading home from New Zealand after a 41-5 World Cup quarter-final humbling by England.

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Tournament favourites England have washed away Australia’s World Cup hopes with a 41-5 win in their quarter-final in Auckland.

In driving rain at Waitakere Stadium, England’s class and strength prevailed over an ill-disciplined and fumbly Australia.

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Milestone woman Sarah Hunter ensured the Red Roses led from the eighth minute, before Marlie Packer scored two first-half tries to give England a scoreboard buffer.

Jay Tregonning’s side never seriously challenged, struggling at line-outs and to maintain possession in the big wet.

One statistic told the story – Australia spent just 25 seconds in the English 22.

A stunning Emily Chancellor try in the shadow of halftime gave the Wallaroos a glimmer of hope, but the English put on four unanswered second-half tries to surge into the semi-finals.

Captain Shannon Parry said she was proud of her side but the Red Roses deserved their win.

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“England are a world class team. They’re a well oiled machine,” she said.

The odds were against Australia from the outset.

England had never failed to reach a World Cup semi and came into the knockout rounds on a three-year winning streak.

The Wallaroos’ forward pack needed to stand up to the mighty England scrum to have a shot, but they failed their first test to allow Hunter an opening try. It was a fitting reward for the living legend who became rugby’s most capped woman on Saturday, playing her 138th Test.

A yellow card to reigning world player of the year Zoe Aldcroft for a head clash gave the Wallaroos a look in, however Lori Cramer missed a penalty in their only chance for points with an advantage.

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Soon after parity was restored, Parry was sent to the bin for an offside after a string of warnings from the referee.

After missing a pair of tries in marginal TMO rulings, England’s Packer went in twice while a woman up.

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Australia were woeful at the lineout, losing six of their first eight, before Chancellor shocked England to finish a sweeping move with a stampeding run.

Any momentum Australia might have had going into the break was swept away by Abbie Ward’s 44th-minute try.

Emily Scarratt missed the conversion, going at two from six on a horror day for kicking.

Hooker Amy Cokayne then went over in the 53rd minute to wild celebrations, and Alex Matthews followed in the 62nd.

Putting an exclamation point on their performance, Packer sealed her hat-trick in the last minute after a trademark lineout push.

The result means Australia head home with a 2-2 record in New Zealand, losing to England and the hosts, but beating Scotland and Wales.

With their world record-lengthening 29th straight Test win, England join New Zealand and France in the last four.

On Saturday, New Zealand crushed Wales 55-3 and France defeated Italy 39-3, and the pair will play next Saturday at Eden Park for a place in the World Cup final.

England will meet the winner of the last quarter-final, between Canada and the United States, played later on Sunday.

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