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JAPAN BEAT WALES

In both a warmup and a preview of the HSBC World Rugby Women’s World Cup of this August 2017, New Zealand and England have dominated the four-team tournament. The event is being held in New Zealand featuring the Black Ferns (1), England (2), Canada (3), and Australia (6), or three of the top four ranked teams.

The recent matches saw New Zealand trounce the Aussies 44-17 in Christchurch, while the Red Roses narrowly defeated Canada 27-20. Previously, New Zealand beat Canada 28-16 while England had no trouble routing Australia 53-10.

The showdown between the Black Ferns and England will take place this Saturday in Rotorua Stadium. This match could foreshadow the cup final at the WRWC in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

The Black Ferns are still smarting from a disappointing fifth place finish in the 2014 WRWC played in France. They never reached the four-team semi-final round after losing to Ireland in pool play, the major upset in women’s rugby that year. For the record in 2014, Gold to England, Silver for Canada, and Bronze to France.

The most startling result of the weekend occurred in Wales where a touring Japanese team pasted their Welsh opponents 52-10, a surprising outcome for the lower ranked Brave Blossoms. Japan rose to 14th in the standings while Wales dropped to tenth. Was this upset a one game anomaly, or are the improved Japanese women on the brink of something big?