Top Round 3 Matches Of The 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup to Watch

The last pool play matches of the Women’s Rugby World Cup are about to be played. The Cup Semi-Final rounds will be made up of the top 3 teams and the best runner up from the Pool rounds. It’s fair to say that the range of matches, after 2 rounds, have been eye rolling to seat gripping. There have been absolute blow outs (looking at New Zealand vs. Hong Kong, Canada vs. Hong Kong, France vs. Japan, France vs. Australia), and there have been really close matches (I see you Ireland vs. Australia, Canada vs. Wales,). It has definitely been a roller coaster of emotions.

While wins and losses are absolutely important to whether a team moves on, in pool play points are everything. The teams that move on to the top 4 positions are the three pool winners, and the top runner up team. Points and scoring are also factors in deciding how one moves on. Teams who win their match are awarded 4 points, a team that ties is awarded 2 points, and the team that loses is awarded 0 points. Points are also awarded for number of tries and point differential. If a team scores 4 tries or more, they will be awarded a 1 bonus point. If a team that loses their match up keeps the score within 7 points, they will gain a bonus point as well. If teams end up tying in points awarded, then the tie breaker will be based on the overall points differential. Needless to say, there are a few combinations that could come together to put a team into the semi-final round. We’ll mention a few of the more likely combinations.

This third pool round may be one of the best sets of matches this tournament presents, outside of the Finals. The teams  We’ve made a list of the best matches to watch during this third round.



Wales vs. Hong Kong
11:15 am CST

We have this as the least interesting match up of round 3. Wales is 0-2 in pool play, with losses to New Zealand, 44-12, and Canada, 15-0. Hong Kong has been run over 219-0 against Canada (98-0) and New Zealand (121-0). Neither team has a chance of moving on to the semi-finals cup. They will most likely be competing for 9th through 12th place matches.


(1) Cerys Hale (2) Carys Phillips (3) Megan York (4) Siwan Lillicrap (5) Melissa Clay (6) Lleucu George (7) Sioned Harries (8) Shona Powell-Hughes (9) Keira Bevan (10) Elinor Snowsill (11) Jasmine Joyce (12) Robyn Wilikins (13) Gemma Rowland (14)  Jess Kavanagh-Williams (15) Jodie Evans [substitute] (16) Kelsey Jones (17) Gwenllian Pyrs (18) Caryl Thomas (19) Rebecca Rowe (20) Rachel Taylor (21) Sian Moore (22) Elen Evans (23) Dyddgu Hywel

Wales is one of the most technically sound team in the tournament. They are powerful in the Forwards, but carry slower backs. Wales team is pieced together similar to Italy, but with even less athleticism. Wales should have been a top contender in this tournament, if they had more speed out the back line. Wales had the misfortune of being placed in pool with New Zealand and Canada. Wales has been efficient in their tackling. They are capable of making the right decisions, they just don’t have the skill players to make the plays.

Hong Kong:

(1) Lau Nga Wun (2) Roycle Chan (3) Lee Ka Shun (4)  Chow Mei Nam (5) Chan Ka Yan (6) Christy Cheng (7) Chan Tsz Ching (8) Christine Gordon (9) Mak Ho Yee (10) Rose Hopewelll-Fong (11) Chong Ka Yan (12) Kelsie Bouttle (13) Natasha Olson-Thorne (14) Lau Sze Wa (15) Adrienne Garvey [substitute] (16) Pun Wai Yan (17) Wong Yuen Shan (18) Karen So (19) Amelie Seure (20) Tsang Sin Yan (21) Jessica Ho (22) Lee Tsz Ting (23) Kwong Sau Yan

Hong Kong wasn’t ready for this competition. They are still a growing team. They are smaller than their opponent. They are slower than their opponents. They aren’t as skilled. They are still learning the nuances of the game. Lastly, they have one of the youngest rosters. They try very hard though, but they can get a moral victory from the lessons they learn in this competition.

Prediction: Wales over Hong Kong

Kris Thomas (USA Rugby); photo by MICHAEL LEE // KLC FOTOS


Australia vs. Japan
11:00 am CST

We ranked this as the 5th least important match up of the round 3 pool play. Australia is 0-2, losing to Ireland in a close match, 19-17, and dropping a big one to France, 48-0. They’ve only received 1 point so far, and that’s from the close match with Ireland. Japan also has yet to win a match. They lost a big one to France, 72-14, and dropped a close one to Ireland, 24-14.


(1) Liz Patu (2) Cheyenne Campbell (3) Hilisha Samoa (4) Alisha Hewett (5) Millie Boyle (6) Mollie Gray (7) Chloe Butler (8) Grace Hamilton (9) Katrina Barker (10) Sarah Riordan (11) Mahalia Murphy (12) Kayla Sauvao (13) Sharni Williams (14) Nareta Marsters (15)  Samantha Treherne [substitute] (16) Emily Robinson (17) Violeta Tupuola (18) Hana Ngaha (19) Rebecca Clough (20) Kate Brown (21) Fenella Hake (22) Ashleigh Timoko (23) Trilleen Pomare

Australia came in as an underwhelming team. Unlike most of the women’s teams that competed, Australia did not bring most of their 7s sides with them. So while they have talent, they didn’t bring their top talent with them. As a result, the women’s backline just doesn’t have the sheer speed available as they did when they won the 2016 Olympics. They have solid forwards. hard tackling. Australia plays with a lot of toughness.


(1) Makoto Ebuchi (2) Seina Saito (3) Saki Minami (4) Aya Nakajima (5) Ayano Sakurai (6) Yuki Sue (7) Sayaka Suzuki (8) Maki Takano (9) Moe Tsukui (10) Minori Yamamoto (11) Eriko Hirano (12) Riho Kurogi (13) Iroha Nagata (14) Akari Kato (15) Mayu Shimizu [Substitute] (16) Misaki Suzuki (17) Mizuho Kataoka (18) Maiko Fujimoto (19) Ai Hyugaji (20) Yui Shiozaki (21) Yumeno Noda (22) Ayaka Suzuki (23) Ai Tasaka 

Japan played Ireland really tough. They have upside potential. But they are still lacking in discipline and focus. They are weak in the Forwards, they are weak in the backlines. They can make stops, but they will ultimately get physicaled out of a game.

Prediction: Australia over Japan

Italy Rugby at Women’s Rugby World Cup


Italy vs. Spain
8:45 am CST

Italy and Spain will be the best middle tier match up for this round. Neither teams are as bad as their record would indicate, but neither have been overly impressive. Italy lost twice in this tournament. Italy dropped a hard fought match to USA, 24-12, and England, 56-13. Spain is also 0-2 in pool play, losing to USA, 43-0, and England, 56-5. The winner of this match will move into the 5th – 8th place matches.


(1) Marta Ferrari (2) Melissa Bettoni (3) Lucia Gai (4) Valeria Fedrighi (5) Alice Trevisan (6) Isabella Locatelli (7) Elisa Giordano (8) Silvia Gaudino (9) Sara Barattin (10) Beatrice Rigoni (11) Michela Sillari (12) Paola Zangirolami (13) Maria Grazia Cioffi (14) Sofia Stefan (15) Manuela Furlan [substitute] (16) Elisa Cucchiella (17) Michela Este (18) Sara Tounesi (19) Valentina Ruzza (20) Ilaria Arrighetti (21) Veronica Schīavon (22) Elisa Bonaldo (23) Veronica Madia

Italy is a strong defensive team. They are strong in the forwards, which is led by Elisa Giordano. They have good tackling back lines, but lack speed. Italy has given both USA and England a run for their money in the early parts of both of their match ups. Unfortunately for Italy, the inability to score negated the tough defense they put up. Italy’s Forwards are very efficient and very smart with their ball handling. They are fluid in the mauls and the scrums. They defend the middle of the field very well.


(1) Isabel Rico (2) Aroa Gonzalez (3) Jeanina Vinueza (4) Marīa Ribera (5) Rocio Garcia (6) Diana Gasso (7) Paula Medin (8) Angela Del Pan (9) Anne Fernández de Corres (10) Patricia Garcia (11) Iera Echebarria (12) Marina Bravo (13) Vanesa Rial (14) Barbara Garcia (15) Barbara Pla [substitute] (16) Saioa Jaurena (17) Isabel Macias (18) Laura Delgado (19) Monica Castelo (20) Berta García (21) Carlota Meliz (22) Amaia Erbina (23) Uri Barrutieta

Spain is definitely the top of the lower tier teams. Spain is a solid tackling team, and create a solid defensive wall, for a while. Biggest problem that Spain has is that they don’t have any offensive threat. They have one speedster on their team, and everyone else is on average, comparatively slower than their opponents. Spain has a great amount of heart when they play. And they are competitive enough to not allow teams to take them too lightly.

Prediction: Italy over Spain

Chloe Pelle (France Rugby)


France vs. Ireland 
1:45 pm CST

France and Ireland will be competing for first place of Pool C. Ireland has gone 2-0 in pool play. They defeated Japan, 72-14, and Australia, 48-0. France is the favorite with 10 points. Ireland is also 2-0 in pool play. They barely beat Australia, 19-17, and Japan 24-14. The winner will get an automatic berth into the cup semi-finals, and though if Ireland has a few obstacles to face due to them entering into this final pool play with only 8 points.

For Ireland to make the cup semi-finals:

  1. Beat France by more than 7 points and score 4+ tries
  2. Lose to France, lose by less then 7 point, score more than 4 tries,  Canada loses to New Zealand by more than 7 points and scores less then 4 tries, and the USA loses to England and scores less than 4 tries and loses by more than 7 points w/ Ireland scoring 44 points plus the amount of points of USA.

For France to make it to the cup semi-finals:

  1. Beat Ireland
  2. Lose to Ireland, tie the loser of the England/USA match who would need to lose by more than a 7 points and not score more than 4 tries, and Canada losing to New Zealand, while scoring less then 4 tries and lose by more then 7 points.
  3. Lose to Ireland, score more 4+ tries, lose by less then 7, loser of England/USA loses by more than 7 points or scores less then 4 tries, Canada loses to New Zealand


(1) Annalle Deshayes (2) Gaelle Mignot (3) Julie Duval (4) Lenaig Corson (5) Audrey Forlani (6) Marjorie Mayans (7) Romane Menager (8) Safi N’Diaye (9) Yanna Rivoalen (10) Caroline Drouin (11) Shannon Izar (12) Elodie Poublan (13) Caroline Ladagnous (14) Chloe Pelle (15) Montserrat Amedee [substitute] (16) Caroline Thomas (17) Lize Arricastre (18) Patricia Carricaburu (19) Celine Ferer (20) Julie Annery (21) Jade Le Pesq (22) Carla Neisen (23) Camille Grassineau

France is the dark horse team of this tournament. They are not as fluid of natural athletes as USA or New Zealand, but they have plenty of weapons in the back line, such as Chole Pelle and Montsrrat Amedee. France is definitely as technically skilled as England and Wales, and have the chemistry to take advantage of it. France’s ability to bring support for the ball carriers may be better than anyone else in the tournament. Their chemistry and support makes them very dangerous as they are able to distribute the ball with timing and pace, which makes them difficult to defend. The most underrated unit for France is their Forwards. They are strong, they are great at group tackling and know how to control the ball. Safi N’Diaye is the perfect battering ram for France. France is no joke going into this last point of pool play.


(1) Lindsay Peat (2) Leah Lyons (3) Ailis Egan (4) Sophie Spence (5) Marie Louise Reilly (6) Ciara Griffin (7) Claire Molloy (8) Paula Fitzpatrick (9) Nicole Cronin (10) Nora Stapleton (11) Alison Miller (12) Sene Naoupu (13) Jenny Murphy (14) Elmear Considine (15) Hannah Tyrrell [substitute] (16) Cliodhna Moloney (17) Ruth O’Reilly (18) Ciara O’Connor (19) Asleigh Baxter (20) Heather O’Brien (21) Larissa Muldoon (22) Katie Fitzhenry (23) Louise Galvin

Ireland was one of the favorites for this tournament. They are the home town team and have been able to play with crowd being on their side. Ireland has a gritty style of play, and they play very physical rugby. Ireland is another team that has a really strong Forward Pack, but not very intimidating Backs. Ireland is not the fastest team in the tournament, but they have some of the biggest players on their team, and they know how to bully their way into wins.

Prediction: France over Ireland


Canada vs. New Zealand
6:00 am CST

This is the second most dynamic match up in round 3 of pool play. Both these teams have been dominate in their matches. New Zealand is the favorite in this match up, leading the pool with 10 points. They have defeated Wales, 44-12, and Hong Kong a record breaking Women’s Rugby World Cup, 121-0. Canada holds 9 points in pool play. They came out strong against Hong Kong defeating them, 98-0, but slowed down a bit against Wales, winning 15-0.

For Canada to make the cup semi-finals, they will need:

  1. To defeat New Zealand to win the pool and gain an automatic bid.
  2. Lose to New Zealand, score more than 4 tries, and the loser of England/USA losing by more than 7
  3. Lose to New Zealand, lose by less than 7 points, the loser of France/Ireland not score more then 4 tries, and lose of England/USA score less than 4 tries and lose by more than 7 points.

For New Zealand to move to the cup semi-finals, they will need:

  1. Defeat Canada outright, and win the pool to gain an automatic bid
  2. Lose to Canada by less then 7 points, loser of England/USA lose by more than 7 points and score less than 4 tries, loser of France/Ireland scores less than 4 tries
  3. Lose to Canada, win by more then 4 tries and lose by less then 7 points


(1) Carolyn McEwen (2) Laura Russell (3) DaLeaka Menin (4) Kayla Mack (5) Latoya Blackwood (6)  Jacey Grusnick (7) Karen Paquin (8) Kelly Russell (9)  Lori Josephson (10) Emily Belchos (11) Julianne Zussman (12) Amanda Thornborough (13) Alex Tessier (14) Magali Harvey (15) Elissa Alarie [substitute] (16) Jane Kirby (17) Brittany Kassil (18) Olivia DeMerchant (19) Tyson Beukeboom (20) Barbara Mervin (21) Chelsea Guthrie (22) Andrea Burk (23) Brittany Waters

Canada is coming in with one of the most athletic wing closer’s in the tournament, in Magali Harvey. Canada has been a massively efficient team who can compete with anyone in the league. They have been very good at tackling, and have been great with both individual and group tackles. The Canadian Forwards have been overpowering their opponents in scrums and mauls, though they did face some sluggishness against a tough Wales team. When Canada faced off against Wales, they were able to show some true grit in the win, as well as an amazing defense.

Magali Harvey (Canada Rugby); photo by Merlin Archive


(1) Toka Natua (2) Fiao’o Faamausili (3) Aldora Itunu (4) Eloise Blackwell (5) Charmaine Smith (6) Charmaine McMenamin (7) Sarah Goss (8) Aroha Savage (9) Kendra Cocksedge (10) Victoria Subritzky-Nafatali (11) Renne Wickliffe (12) Kelly Brazier (13) Stacey Waaka (14) Portia Woodman (15) Selica Winiata [substitute] (16) Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate (17) Sosoli Talawadua (18) Katie Mata’u (19) Becky Wood (20) Linda Itunu (21) Kristina Sue (22) Theresa Fitzpatrick (23) Carla Hohepa

New Zealand has the best wings in tournament in Portia Woodman, and Renne Wickliffe. Woodman has been able to effectively replicate what she’s done in Rugby 7s, in the Rugby 15s code. New Zealand Forwards are strong, but have been sloppy in passing. This group has been lead by the pitch blanket, Flanker Sarah Goss. New Zealand’s biggest weakness has been that they haven’t faced real competition yet, and have yet to show the full extent of their skills under-pressure. New Zealand has great individual tackles, a bit slow when it comes to group tackling.

Prediction: Canada over New Zealand

Photo by Peter Fitzpatrick/Action Plus


England vs. USA
8:30 am CST

This is the biggest match up in the tournament. This is the new War of 1812 remixed. England entered Women’s Rugby World Cup as the clear favorites to win it all. They haven’t disappointed so far, defeating Spain and Italy by a combined score of 112-18. They’ve gone 2-0 and are leading Pool B based on points. USA was expected to be a physically talented team, but an underdog to Italy and England. USA came out sloppy against Italy, but was able to defeat them 24-14. USA then showed their skills against Spain, defeating them 43-0. Both teams are coming in with 10 points, with point differential being the tie breaker in pool positioning.

For England to make it to the cup semi-finals:

  1. Defeat USA
  2. Lose to USA, Canada lose while scoring less then 4 tries or loses by less then 7 points
  3. Lose to USA, score more than 4 tries or loses by less then 7 points

For USA to make it to the cup semi-finals

  1. Defeats England
  2. Loses to England, Canada loses to New Zealand while scoring less than 4 tries and loses by more than 7 points, Ireland loses to France
  3. Loses to England, scores more than 4 tries and loses by less then 7 points, Canada loses to New Zealand, scores less than 4 tries or loses by more than 7 points, Ireland loses to France


(1) Catherine Benson (2) Katy Augustyn (3) Tiffany Faaee [c] (4) Stacey Bridges (5) Alycia Washington (6) Sara Parsons (7) Kate Zackary (8) Jordan Gray (9) Deven Owsiany (10) Kimber Rozier (11) Kristen Thomas (12) Alev Kelter (13) Nicole Heavirland (14) Naya Tapper (15) Cheta Emba {Substitutes} (16) Samantha Pankey (17) Hope Rogers (18) Nick James (19) Abby Gustaitis (20) Kristine Sommer (21) Kayla Canett-Oca (22) Sylvia Braaten (23) Jess Wooden

USA is probably the most physically talented team in the tournament. They have talented starting backs in Kris Thomas, Alev Kelter, Naya Tapper, Cheta Emba and Nicole Heavirland. USA has shown to carry some of the most physically intimidating forwards. The Forwards have been anchored by the great play of Flanker, Sara Parsons, Lock, Alycia Washingotn, and 8-man, Jordan Gray. USA has shown to have issues in ball handling, as well as plenty of self-inflicted penalties.  When the USA does right, they do it all the way right. When they make mistakes, they are hidden with physical talent, or causes ball turnovers.


(1) Vickii Cornborough (2) Amy Cokayne (3) Sarah Bern (4) Abbie Scott (5) Tamara Taylor (6) Alex Matthews (7) Marlie Packer (8) Sarah Hunter (9) Natasha Hunt (10) Katy Mclean (11) Kay Wilson (12) Amber Reed (13) Emily Scarratt (14) Amy Wilson Hardy (15) Danielle Waterman [substitute] (16) Vicky Fleetwood (17) Rochelle Clark (18) Justine Lucas (19) Poppy Cleall (20) Harriet Millar-Mills (21) Leanne Riley (22) Rachael Burford (23) Megan Jones

England is arguably the most complete rugby team in the tournament. They have the size, speed, and skill set to beat anyone in the tournament. They made short work of Spain and Italy. The England back line are very efficient when it comes to ball handling, and they are deceptively fast. This back line is lead by Olympic 7s stars, Emily Scarratt, Amy Wilson-Hardy, and Danielle Waterman. Because the England backs have such long strides, they are very difficult to tackle. The England Forwards are strong. They are very strong and they tackle very well. They are not particularly fast, and they don’t handle the ball too much, but they protect the ball well, and are quick to the rucks. They have out powered most of their scrums and mauls.

Prediction: USA plays a near perfect game – USA. If USA turns the ball over too much, England dominates this game

Maria Casado (England Rugby); Photo by David Rogers


Gift-Time Rugby Network covers college and national rugby in the USA, and live streams games and more. If you want to stay in the loop, don’t forget to like us on Facebook, Follow us on Twitter, Follow us on Instagram and/or subscribe on YouTube. 


Share this post

%d bloggers like this: