Wallaroos claim quarter-finals spot in shaky win over Wales
Australia flirted with late disaster before finding a pathway into the Women’s Rugby World Cup quarter-finals, beating Wales 13-7 on Saturday.
The Wallaroos are into the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals after clinging on for a 13-7 victory over Wales.
Two converted Lori Cramer penalties were the difference in Whangarei, where Australia underwhelmed on their way to a tight victory.
Australia were dominant in possession but disjointed in attack, scoring just once despite 12 visits to the Welsh 22.
Running into the wind, Australia boasted a 10-7 lead at half-time, with Iliseva Batibasaga’s fifth-minute try cancelled out by Sioned Harries’ effort.
The stage was set for the Wallaroos to run over the top of Wales, but time and again Australia turned over possession in an infuriating afternoon for coach Jay Tregonning.
Kaitlan Leaney’s 70th-minute yellow card gave Wales a look at a mighty upset and their first-ever win over Australia, but the Wallaroos successfully starved them of the ball to prevail in unconvincing circumstances.
On the bright side Grace Hamilton was immense with 16 carries, a stat she now leads at the tournament, and after back-to-back victories for the first time under Tregonning the Wallaroos are alive in the tournament.
After losing to hosts New Zealand in their opening match, Australia bounced back to beat Scotland last weekend before their Welsh triumph on Saturday.
Australia must now play a waiting game to learn their next opponents in the tournament with the top eight sides ranked from their group stage play.
Wales, who also beat Scotland and lost to New Zealand, must wait to see whether they qualify for the next round.
On another blustery day at Northland Events Centre, Wales enjoyed the winds at their back early but started flat-footed, allowing Batibasaga to steal a fourth-minute lead.
The half-back looked to dish from a breakdown but found no takers, spinning 360 degrees and finding a path to the try line, running in under the posts unattended.
Lori Cramer converted for an early 7-0 lead.
Australia were dominant early, with 80 per cent possession up until the moment they let Wales back into the contest.
Four phases after a lineout – the source of four Wales tries at this tournament – Harries dived for the line and found it, and soon the score was 7-7.
Bienne Terita’s barnstorming run down the middle threatened to give the Wallaroos a second try, but they had to be content with a 10-7 lead after Cramer’s late penalty.
Arabella Mackenzie went over the line shortly after the break only to be denied by stoic Welsh defence.
What followed was 25 minutes of clumsy rugby with the Wallaroos flirting with disaster.
Tregonning fumed in the box, throwing his pen in frustration as opportunities passed them by.
In the 70th-minute Leaney offered Wales a pathway to victory when she shoulder-charged Alex Callender, but the Wallaroos finished the scoring through Cramer’s boot in the 78th minute.
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Well said James.Go to comments
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