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Wednesday, August 13 begins the final rounds to determine 2014’s winner of the IRB’s Women’s Rugby World Cup. Interest in this event has surpassed expectations, and a record two-million television viewers worldwide saw France vs. Australia.
Seed 1- 4: Path to the Championship
France 1 vs. Canada 4 – The significant fact so far in the tournament is that no team has scored a try against France. Les Bleus have awarded the home nation crowd with three victories, ostensibly in the weakest of the three pools. Can Canada, which moved its game up a notch to tie England, find the same determination against a French VX playing in front of a sold out partisan crowd?
Ireland 2 vs. England 3 – An anticipated exciting match between long-standing rivals. These teams have faced each other often in the past. England won the Six Nations in 2012, and Ireland in 2013. Ireland have earned the Cinderella designation, few considered the squad capable of defeating New Zealand. In addition, Irish coach Phil Doyle announced his retirement after the event. England, whose only Six Nations loss this year was to France, must concentrate on Ireland and not look ahead.
New Zealand 5 vs. Wales 8 – The Black Ferns will roll up the points against Wales, the kick-off game in the stadium. A bitter-sweet day for the former World Champions.
Australia 6 vs USA 7 – The contest will define the Eagles’ status; competitive or also ran. The Wallaroos are a low scoring, defensive XV, relying on excellent penalty kicking for points. The Eagles, who finished fifth in 2010, need this victory to meet the Black Ferns again.
Spain 9 vs. Kazakhstan 12 – Las Leonas demonstrated they could score in the 41-5 rout of Samoa. Spain will find easy pickings against the Nomads.
South Africa 10 vs. Samoa 11- The Bokkies have not scored a try at this tournament. This game is a tossup.