Ireland vs England Women's Rugby World Cup match report: England find their best form to brush aside Irish and cruise into final

Ireland 7 England 40: Canada await in Sunday’s final after they saw off hosts France 18-16 in the other semi-final

England’s women powered into the World Cup final after seeing off Ireland at the Stade Jean Bouin in Paris.

Katy Mclean’s team produced their best performance of the tournament against opponents whose semi-final appearance had been underpinned by a stunning pool stage victory over competition heavyweights New Zealand.

England now face Canada in Sunday’s final after they saw off the hosts France 18-16 in the other semi-final.

Ireland took the lead through an early try from wing Alison Miller that full-back Niamh Briggs converted, but England established a firm grip on proceedings by scoring 18 points in 13 first-half minutes.

Prop Rochelle Clark claimed an opening close-range try, then wing Kat Merchant rounded off a sweeping move, with centre Emily Scarratt kicking two penalties and a conversion.

Scarratt completed her penalty hat-trick shortly after the restart, and Ireland could find no way back as England marched on in pursuit of World Cup glory following three runners-up finishes between 2002 and 2010.

Wing Kay Wilson added a third touchdown before the substitute forward Marlie Packer scored a quick double and Ceri Large kicked two conversions as Ireland’s challenge for honours ground to an abrupt halt.

England enjoyed superiority in every key area, particularly up front, and possessed the game’s outstanding individual performers in Scarratt, her midfield partner Rachel Burford and flanker Maggie Alphonsi.

It was a ruthless display when it mattered most, with England’s dominance reflected in a five-to-one try count. They now have a glorious chance to erase memories of an agonising 13-10 World Cup final defeat against New Zealand at the Twickenham Stoop four years ago.

Mclean was full of praise for the way her team had delivered in a high-pressure situation. “We’re delighted with the performance, I think that the scoreline reflects the fact that we really did turn up on the day and we performed really well,” the England captain said. “I’m so proud of all of the girls – the forwards and the backs all delivered and we have a huge opportunity on Sunday. We can’t wait.”

England’s head coach, Gary Street, added: “We knew that this was going to be a huge game, there’s been a lot of build-up and there was a fair amount of pressure on us, but we really did deliver and I’m massively proud of them all. We felt like the scoreboard was fair – we were clinical in attack and strong in defence.

“One of our strengths is the amount of experience we have in the squad, to be able to bring players off the bench with 60 caps is a huge bonus, and picking the squad for the final will certainly be a  challenge.

“It’s a cliché but we really have taken it one game at a time – if you had said to us at the start of the tournament that we would have the opportunity to play France or Canada in the final then, of course, we’d have taken it. Sunday is a huge game for us, and one that we’re massively looking forward to,” Street added.

Ireland Briggs (Munster); Baxter (Ulster), Cantwell (Richmond), Davitt (Ulster), Miller (Connacht); Stapleton (Leinster), Rosser (Leinster); Coghlan (Leinster, capt), Bourke (Munster), Egan (Leinster), Spence (Leinster), Reilly (Leinster), Fitzpatrick (Leinster), Molloy (Connacht), O’Brien (Munster) Replacements Lynch, Murphy (both Leinster), Hayes, Fleming, Guest (Munster), Muldoon (Bristol), Casey (Saracens).

England Waterman (Bristol); Merchant (Worcester), Scarratt (Lichfield), Burford (Thurrock), Wilson (Bristol); Mclean  (Darlington MP, capt), Mason (Wasps); Clark (Worcester), Fleetwood (Lichfield), Hemming (Bristol), Taylor (Darlington MP), McGilchrist (Wasps), Matthews (Richmond), Alphonsi (Saracens), Hunter (Lichfield). Replacements Croker, Essex, Allen (all Richmond), Keates, Large (Worcester), Packer (Wasps), Hunt (Lichfield).

Referee A Perrett.

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A Very British Coup, part two: New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel

A Very British Coup, part two

New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel
Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Icy dust layer holds organic compounds similar to those found in living organisms
What turns someone into a conspiracy theorist? Study to look at why some are more 'receptive' to such theories

What turns someone into a conspiracy theorist?

Study to look at why some are more 'receptive' to such theories
Chinese web dissenters using coded language to dodge censorship filters and vent frustration at government

Are you a 50-center?

Decoding the Chinese web dissenters
The Beatles film Help, released 50 years ago, signalled the birth of the 'metrosexual' man

Help signalled birth of 'metrosexual' man

The Beatles' moptop haircuts and dandified fashion introduced a new style for the modern Englishman, says Martin King
Hollywood's new diet: Has LA stolen New York's crown as the ultimate foodie trend-setter?

Hollywood's new diet trends

Has LA stolen New York's crown as the ultimate foodie trend-setter?
6 best recipe files

6 best recipe files

Get organised like a Bake Off champion and put all your show-stopping recipes in one place
Ashes 2015: Steven Finn goes from being unselectable to simply unplayable

Finn goes from being unselectable to simply unplayable

Middlesex bowler claims Ashes hat-trick of Clarke, Voges and Marsh
Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Atwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works