England score seven tries as they secure last four spot
England mastered the tricky conditions better, putting in a solid performance to defeat Australia and progress to the last semi-finals of Rugby World Cup 2021.
The rain was coming down heavily at the Waitakere Stadium in Auckland and the underfoot conditions were testing, but the side ranked number one in the World Rugby Women’s Rankings powered by Capgemini scored three tries before half-time and never looked back, coming out on top 41-5.
Australia, who were sixth in the rankings, can take heart from their showing in this tournament in general as they exited at the quarter-final stage.
The first points of the tie came in the eighth minute when captain Sarah Hunter, the number eight winning a record 138th cap for England, went over for a try after controlling the ball well with her feet at the base.
Centre Emily Scarratt converted to make it 7-0 and the second try of the day came for England on the half-hour mark.
The scorer of this one was openside flanker Marlie Packer and although it was unconverted, the same player soon went over again in the 39th minute. Scarratt did add the extras this time to make it 19-0.
Before these tries England had dealt well with 10 minutes when second-row Zoe Aldcroft was in the sin bin, while Australia openside flanker Shannon Parry, the captain, spent the end of the first half in there too.
Australia have shown during the tournament that when they get their attack clicking into gear they can cause teams problems - and they did that just before half-time when blindside flanker Emily Chancellor slid in for an unconverted try.
If they were to have any chance of overhauling England’s 14-point interval advantage, Australia had to get the first points on the board in the second half.
Sadly for them, that did not occur and, indeed, a try from second-row Abbie Ward came for England in the 43rd minute.
It was unconverted, but when hooker Amy Cokayne added another try 10 minutes later, England were 29-5 up and in control.
In the 65th minute Alex Matthews scored try number six for England and, at the death with the clock heading into the red, Packer completed her hat-trick. Full-back Helena Rowland converted that one to finish the scoring at 41-5.
England captain Sarah Hunter said: "Getting the win has been the focus this week.
"We knew that Australia would be tough opponents and the weather was tough too, so being controlled and putting in that type of performance to get to the semi-final stage is really pleasing.
"In terms of myself and getting to 138 caps, now I can take some time to process what I have achieved and the support I have had from everybody has been really special in the last few days."