18 Aug 2017

Black Ferns into Rugby World Cup semi-finals

8:43 am on 18 August 2017

The Black Ferns have qualified for the semi-finals of the Rugby World Cup in Ireland following a 48-5 win over Canada in their final pool game.

Black Ferns celebrate a try 2017.

The triumphant New Zealand team. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

They will play the United States in their semi-final next week while England plays France in the other semi-final.

Tighthead prop Aldora Itunu scored a hat trick of tries in New Zealand's total of eight as they went through pool play unbeaten.

Canada, runners-up to England at the last world cup, had not conceded a single point in their first two fixtures of this tournament. But they simply could not stop the Black Ferns' rampant forwards, in a sublime first half that saw the New Zealanders go into the break with five tries at 29-0.

Such was the Kiwi women's dominance in that opening spell, no one but the strong crowd in attendance would have known they were playing into a stiff breeze - as they utilised clever kicking angles to find space and punched hard up the middle with ball in hand.

Aided by Canada's strange tactic of trying to run the ball from everywhere, the Black Ferns defence simply overwhelmed their opposites and forced numerous turnovers in prime territory.

Fullback Selica Winiata, captain and hooker Fiao'o Faamausili, centres Stacey Waaka and Kelly Brazier and winger Renee Wickliffe also scored tries.

The only concern for New Zealand coach Glenn Moore would have been his side's discipline, as they conceded the first six penalties and lost Itunu to the bin for a high shot inside the first 30 minutes, with Eloise Blackwell also picking up a yellow card in the second stanza for a neck roll.

But any thoughts of a second half fightback were nullified when Faamausili barged over following one of many of Victoria Subritzky-Nafatali's storming runs to extend the lead to 36, ahead of the final points and final whistle.