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Day one of the Women's Rugby World Cup in Dublin saw no surprise upsets as all of the higher ranked fifteens won over the lower teams. The key game was Ireland's narrow victory over Australia 19-17. These squads play in the most competitive pool along with France.
The USA enjoyed a win over Italy 24-12. The Italians finished last in the Women's Six Nations championship this year. Interestingly, the Italians averaged 8 points for and 21 points against in the Six Nations, almost the same score as their loss to the Eagles. (N.B. You can view highlights of this game - and all the others - at www.worldrugby.org.)
The other contests witnessed routs by the dominant four nations over the bottom four of the twelve teams.
France 72 - Japan 14
Canada 98 - Hong Kong 0
New Zealand 44 - Wales 12
England 56 - Spain 5
The USA game featured outstanding offense play by Eagle Sevens players, Tapper, Kelter, and Thomas. The USA defense proved stalwart, also.
On Sunday, the lineup of games follows:
New Zealand vs. Hong Kong
England vs. Italy
USA vs. Spain
Canada vs. Wales
Ireland vs. Japan
France vs. Australia
The key game will be Les Bleues against the Wallaroos, with another potential loss by Australia effectively eliminating them from the semi-final round.
Expectations are that the Black Ferns, Red Roses, Maple Leafs, Eagles, and Ireland will be 2-0 heading into the final and decisive match of the tournament. Clearly, a 3-0 finish mandates advance into the semis, while 2-1 is a precarious result for the possible fourth semi-final entrant who will need bonus points advantage to move forward.
The USA games are not streamed live on World Rugby. They are available for viewing on NBC Gold for a $60 fee.