I am lost for words at how amazing that was. It is a clean scrum from both sides but Pelletier got the ball quickly and made a cracking break. She dummied to fool MacDonald and Paquin was in! Sensational.
18 min: Dow will get the plaudits for finishing that off but Rowland put in all the groundwork there. Harrison clears with a kick to halfway and Tuttosi will want a clean line-out here. But it is loose again and England look to attack once more. Rowland’s pass to MacDonald isn’t clinical though and Canada opt for the scrum.
England get it back and Rowland makes a fantastic break! She offloads to Dow who stretches over, Middleton fist pumps! Scarratt narrowly misses the kick, it bounces off the post.
14 min: Canada’s first line-out of the match is loose and Infante comes away with it. A great fend from Dow gets England into the 22 and carries from Cornborough and Aldcroft edge them closer. Harrison pops a gruber kick in, an interesting choice as England were going through the motions and a try felt imminent, and Canada clear.
12 min: England regather at the restart but the kicking game is back, it seems it will be a key part of this match. The Red Roses are playing it wide but Harrison puts boot to ball and Tessier collects and kicks away. It works well for Canada but Heard charges down a kick from Tessier and England charge forward once more. Harrison’s pass is loose though – it is frantic right now!
A reset to the scrum eventually sees England come away with it. Rowland’s dancing feet sees her spread the ball wide, she eventually passes to Scarratt and she is turfed into touch. They were playing the advantage though and Harrison kicks to the corner. A clean line-out and the driving maul gives them a try once more! Scarratt adds the extras.
6 min: Canada do really well to make sure they don’t give it away and they clear their lines. England run it through the players as they attack with a slick offload from Scarratt to Heard. Harrison does her own dummy and she is almost away and England edge closer. But, alas, we will have to wait for the first try of the match. A loose pass from Ward to Packer is loose but England had the advantage, Red Roses scrum to come.
4 min: Pelletier attempts a dummy but it is read well by the English defence. And it is a stellar effort from England who win it back but Canada win it back quickly! Wow what a start to this match. The Red Roses turn it over once more and Rowland brings the kicking game in once more. The Kick from Harrison is great and England pin Canada in their own 22.
2 min: A great kick-off from Canada sees the side come away with it and they are running through the phases early doors. The kicking game comes into play and the ball is loose from Emily Scarratt who knocks on, a Canada scrum to come. The set piece will be interesting as Canada can match the Red Roses up front. It is a clean scrum and Canada come away with it and shift the ball wide, a really bright start from them.
Here we go! Who will bag their final spot? England are red hot favourites but Canada are capable of an upset …
The players are out and the anthems will be in full flow shortly! Anyone else nervous? Knock-out rugby could throw up anything!
England head coach Simon Middleton has not taken kindly to some criticism levied against his team about their dependable driving maul. A lot of tries are being scored by the England forwards, six of the seven scored against Australia were from the forwards, and he once again commented on the topic ahead of the semi-final. He said: “We know what our game looks like. We’re confident we’ve got whatever game we need to get in the performance we want. I think New Zealand have got a bigger problem because they can only score with their backs, but nobody is making a fuss about that.”
Canada captain Sophie de Goede told the BBC: “We all believe in each other. England is a formidable team. The pressure is on them. We’re probably the only people that truly believe we can pull off that upset.”
The match today is a revisit of the 2014 RWC final where England won 21-9. This game is full of rivalry and it will be interesting to see which way it will go.
Here are a few preview to sink your teeth into ahead of the match:
Our man on the ground Rob Kitson has a weather update from Eden Park and says it is ideal weather for rugby today! As opposed to last week’s torrential rain nightmare, the skies are clear, the sun is shining although there is a slight breeze. Will we see England use the weather to run the ball through the hands? Or will the driving maul once again come into action? All will be revealed from 3.30 …
Get in touch and let me know how you’re feeling this morning! Did you stay up to keep up to date or have a nap? I had a four hour nap which I hope is enough to see my through both matches! You can contact me via Twitter and email.
As I said the team news is here and Canada have an unchanged starting 15 but they have mixed up their bench. They have named seven forwards in their replacements in a bid to match England up front.
Canada starting XV: Alarie; Grant, Corrigan, Kaljuvee, Farries; Tessier, Pelletier; DeMerchant, Tuttosi, Menin, Holtkamp, Hunt, Forteza, Paquin, De Goede (capt).
Replacements: Boag, Kassil, Ellis, Fuamba, Beukeboom, Senft, Svoboda, Holly.
England, meanwhile, have made just one change from their win over Australia in the quarter-final. Claudia MacDonald comes in at the wing for Lydia Thompson. There were two late changes with the Red Roses announcing at 2.30am today. Hannah Botterman was due to start but has picked up a knee injury and so Vickii Cornborough is in the front row. Lucy Packer was named on the bench but she has an ankle problem. Shaunagh Brown and Sadia Kabeya come onto the bench.
England starting XV: Rowland; Dow, Scarratt, Heard, MacDonald; Harrison, Infante; Corborough, Cokayne, Bern, Aldcroft, Ward, Matthews, Packer, Hunter (capt).
Replacements: Davies, Muir, Brown, Galligan, Cleall, Kabeya, Aitchison, Kildunne.
Welcome back to our coverage of the Rugby World Cup! Both semi-finals will be played today and we have live updates from each match to make sure you don’t miss any action. First up is Canada v England with the latter favourites to take their place in the final. Canada have been impressive during the tournament though and have been quite happy moving along with none of the media spotlight.
In recent years England have had the upper hand in this fixture, the last coming in the autumn of 2021 where the Red Roses inflicted a 51-12 result. But many will be expecting the result to be much closer this morning. And it is not just the RWC final spot that these teams are playing for, Canada have the opportunity to spoil England’s winning streak. Simon Middleton’s side are on a 29 game run and the opposition today would love nothing more than to stop them getting to 30.
The team news is out so stay tuned for updates ahead of kick-off at 3.30 GMT.