Underdogs defiant ahead of Women’s World Rugby Cup’s final 8

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) – The semi-finals of the women’s rugby tournament seem to promise one-on-one and semi-final encounters between the top four teams: England, France, New Zealand and Canada.

Defending champions and hosts New Zealand on Saturday take on Wales, who it won 57-0 last week in the group stage. Canada also face Sunday’s rematch with the United States, who won 29-14 last weekend.

Third-placed France take on Italy on Saturday and the top-placed England take on Australia on Sunday in a match that did not take place in the group stage.

Although the result of the quarter-finals was seen as a predictable result, the weaker team promised to fight.

Australia’s Wallaroos had the toughest task against England, who went on to win their 28-match world record with a 75-0 victory over South Africa in the group stage final. The UK rankings for both men and women began in 2019 and its average winning level is 38 points.

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Australian winger Lori Cramer told the Sydney Morning Herald that her team-mates were unhappy with England’s impressive record. Cramer said Australia were improving with every game and showed surprising ability as they led New Zealand 17-0 in the opening game of the tournament.

“It’s easy to look at the statistics and how they are not beaten for too long,” said Cramer, “but every game you play is closer to your first defeat. Forever, I personally like to be endless, we really get to be endless. And the pressure is on them. ”

Wales are also facing their clash with New Zealand’s Black Ferns, although it is a 57-point gap to bridge after last week’s defeat.

“All eyes will be on the Black Ferns, everyone will expect them to win,” Wales captain Siwan Lillicrap wrote in a column for the BBC. “We are happy to go quietly under the radar and hopefully cause one of the biggest disappointments in the women’s competition.

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“We have never beaten them before. “Saturday will be a good day to make history.”

Coach Wayne Smith said New Zealand were aware of their previous encounter with Wales that Saturday’s game would be “fitness” and Black Ferns would have to keep their focus.

“It was about the attitude of playing well with Wales because to be fair, they made us physically fit in the first game we played them,” Smith said. “This is an opportunity for our women to show that we can match them (physically). I’m talking about you getting the right attitude. When the boots you open. That is what we are trying to do. ”

France have already lost to Italy once this year in their last warm-up match before the World Cup. Cup. Captain Gaelle Hermet said her players are committed to avoiding a recurrence.

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“We just wanted to be on the pitch to be able to play because we knew it was a special game,” Hermet said. “It’s a stock game that you go through or it breaks.

“We want to strengthen ourselves a bit by saying it promises to be a big game.”

Italy coach Andrea Di Giandomenico says his players want to “enjoy the time”.

“For me, France is really competitive because they have different attacking options,” Di Giandomenico said. “We know France wants to win this World Cup. Every game the French play, they play to win. “There is nothing to lose for us.”

Canada has won its last six matches against the United States and is hoping to reach the semi-finals for the first time since 2014.

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