Salem Radio Network News Saturday, March 25, 2023


Rugby-Australia advance to quarter-finals with narrow win over Wales

(Reuters) – Australia booked their place in the quarter-finals of the women’s Rugby World Cup on Saturday with a hard-fought 13-7 win over Wales in Whangarei, New Zealand.

Two penalties from Lori Cramer were the difference between the teams, and the win ensures the Australians finish second in Pool A behind already-qualified New Zealand.

The result leaves Wales, who picked up a losing bonus point, in third place in the standings. Ioan Cunningham’s side could still advance as one of the two best third-placed finishers, depending on the outcome of the remaining group matches.

The Australians took the lead in the fifth minute when Iliseva Batibasaga gathered the ball at the back of a ruck before a dummied pass bought her the space to sprint under the posts to score and Cramer struck a successful conversion.

Wales levelled in the 23rd minute when Sioned Harries touched down after a pick-and-go from close range, and Elinor Snowsill’s kick made it over the bar via the inside of the post.

Cramer’s sweetly struck penalty on the stroke of halftime gave the Australians a slender advantage at the interval before both teams cancelled each other out throughout the second half.

Wales were given late hope when Australian replacement Kaitlan Leaney was given a yellow card for a dangerous tackle on Alex Callender with 10 minutes remaining, but Cramer’s penalty two minutes from time sealed the win.

Australia join hosts and defending champions New Zealand as well as England and Canada in booking their place in the next round of the competition.

The Black Ferns, who have secured bonus point wins in both of their opening games, take on Scotland later on Saturday while France will meet Fiji in Pool C.

(Reporting by Michael Church in Hong Kong; Editing by William Mallard)


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