Women’s Rugby World Cup: semi-finals (lo! Ireland)

Ingrid Bergman: But what about us?
Humphrey Bogart: We’ll always have Paris. 
– Casablanca (a motion picture film)

My brother-in-law, Ian, spotted some members of the Canadian Women’s Rugby team a couple of weeks ago, walking the cobbled streets of Paris. A quick google, and lo! the Women’s Rugby World Cup was to commence on the morrow.

Who knew?

I find rugby a brutal game, a thrilling, exotic and foreign game. Penalty? Huh? But good rugby is fun to watch, especially with someone who can act as interpreter. And it turns out that women play rugby. Of course they do. Welcome news.

A women’s world cup of rugby occurs. Again, welcome news.

Here’s a run-down on what I’ve picked up over the past week or so. Going in, the rankings had New Zealand unbackable favourites; they had not lost a World Cup game since 1991.

  1. New Zealand
  2. England
  3. France
  4. Ireland
  5. Canada
  6. United States
  7. Wales
  8. Spain
  9. South Africa
  10. Italy
  11. Australia
  12. Scotland

Competition structure
Group stage
Three pools of four teams play in round-robin format. And this is where it gets complicated.
How are semi-finalists decided from an odd-numbered THREE group structure? Results from all group matches are used to “rank” each of the 12 teams.
Seeded stage
To make the semi finals, you need to finish top of your group. The top four “seeds” after the groups stage are deemed to be:

  • 1st Seed – Pool winner with most competition points
  • 2nd Seed – Pool winner with second most competition points
  • 3rd Seed – Pool winner with third most competition points
  • 4th Seed – Pool second place with most competition points

A team collects competition points like this (becoming a touch esoteric now):

  • 4 points for a win
  • 2 points for a draw
  • 1 point for scoring 4 or more tries
  • 1 point for losing by 7 or less than 7 points
  • 0 points for a loss

And thus, Semi Finalists are:
2nd seed v 3rd seed
1st seed v 4th seed

So what’s happened since 1 August?
Groups for the 2014 women’s rugby world cup in Paris were:
A – England, Canada, Spain, Samoa
B – New Zealand, Ireland, USA, Kazakhstan
C – France, Wales, South Africa, Australia
Remember, you need to finish top of the group to be guaranteed passage to the semi finals. World top teams and expected finallists are underlined.

Group A
Canada 31 – 5 Spain
England 65 – 3 Samoa
England 45 – 5 Spain
Canada 42 – 7 Samoa
After these games, England v Canada loomed as the decisive fixture.

Group B
New Zealand 79 – 5 Kazakhstan
USA 17 – 23 Ireland
USA 47 – 7 Kazakhstan
New Zealand 14 – 17 Ireland (BOILOVER RESULT)
First defeat of New Zealand women at a World Cup since 1991. First Irish win over New Zealand in rugby by either men or women. Brilliant reaction in Ireland. Ireland now stood to top the group. The New Zealand v USA game was now crucial to see whether New Zealand even made the semi-finals.

Group C
Australia 26 – 3 South Africa (out-performing world rankings)
France 26 – 0 Wales
Australia 25 – 3 Wales (again, out-performing world rankings)
France 55 – 3 South Africa
France v Australia to decide who progresses automatically.

So, what happened next?
Group A
Spain 41 – 5 Samoa
England 13 – 13 Canada   A draw meant Canada and England share the points. And so both go through to the semi-finals, leaving no room for New Zealand.
Group B
Ireland 40 – 5 Kazakhstan
New Zealand 35 – 3 USA
Group C
Wales 35 – 3 South Africa
Australia 3 – 17 France

And so, Semi Finals – Wednesday 13 August – tonight
Ireland v England (Regardless of result, like Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart, the Irish squad will “always have Paris.”)
France v Canada
Final – Sunday 17 August
The seedings would expect a France v England final on Sunday, in Paris.
Well played you women.

About David Wilson

David Wilson is a writer, editor, flood forecaster and former school teacher. He writes under the name “E.regnans” at The Footy Almanac and has stories in several books. One of his stories was judged as a finalist in the Tasmanian Writers’ Prize 2021. He shares the care of two daughters and a dog, Pip. He finds playing the guitar a little tricky, but seems to have found a kindred instrument with the ukulele. Favourite tree: Eucalyptus regnans.


  1. PingPongTom says

    And the million dollar question: will it get any coverage on tv?

  2. Luke Reynolds says

    Great write up Dave. Fox Sports have been showing several games throughout the tournament. I’ve tuned in from time to time. The standard is quite good, though to my eye don’t play their sport at quite the same level as the International women cricketers play theirs. Enjoyed the link from the Irish Times.

  3. Cheers gents.
    Good to know, Luke.

    Ireland 7 – 40 England
    Reaction from Irish times: http://www.irishtimes.com/sport/rugby/ireland-s-world-cup-ends-at-the-hands-of-england-in-paris-1.1896148
    And English Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2014/aug/13/england-beat-ireland-womens-rugby-world-cup

    France 16 – Canada 18

  4. Dave- Given that the only Canadians I’d recognise are Neil Young, and tragically, Bryan Adams, I’m mightily impressed that your brother-in-law spotted their Women’s Rugby team!
    Your trip continues to generate great yarns! Thanks.

  5. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Never heard of Leonard Cohen, Mickey?

  6. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Or Justin Bieber ?

    Great story Dave.

  7. Thanks Mickey, Swish.
    Reckon you’d probably recognise Pamela Anderson. Or Wolverine.

    The final is now set between two teams from Group A.
    What happened in the pool fixture England v Canada?
    13-13 draw.
    Enlgland will be overwhelming favourites.
    But they have lost the past 3 world cup finals. (All to New Zealand).

  8. Fair point Swish. Let’s also not forget the recently retired Celine Dion. In Tangier, Morocco- I swear this is true- I saw The Celine Dion Cafe. I did not go in because I knew, wait for it, my heartburn would go on.

  9. World Champions: England.

    England 21 – 9 Canada

    Didn’t see a second of it; but here is the English Guardian’s report:

  10. Brilliant work Big Dave,
    Caught the whole tournament including form guide, pool structure, results, upsets, predictions and eventual winner in one read. Wish all world cups could be wrapped so succinctly.

  11. Cheers Philo,
    I found the reporting of these matches really refreshing.
    Full of support.
    Even the Irish report of Ireland’s semi final defeat.
    Story-writers making interesting choices.

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