The first day of the 2014 Womens Rugby World Cup in Paris saw no major upsets, which given the first pool games was no surprise. Current World Champions New Zealand crusied past Kazakhstan 79-5 in the opener with the Kazaks sustaining two injuries on the way. The other high scoring match saw England beat Samoa 65-3, albeit Samoa played most of the match with 14 players the scoreline wouldn’t have changed much.
The eternal question this raises is should tier 2/3 teams be playing in the World Cup final? I think the answer is still yes, its good for competion, its good for developing teams to aspire and get the opportunities to play the best teams. They can bench mark themselves and learn so much. For the top teams it’s a good way to try new things, new players and also to be tested by teams not always playing to standard formats. Lastly and most importantly it brings the wonderful game to a bigger audience, giving inspiration and aspiration to developing teams.
In the other matches Australia beat South Africa 26-3 with so much attacking play from their forwards which isnt surprising giving their 7’s pedigree and a team to watch going forward. Ireland beat USA 23-17 in the only interesting turn of events on day one. They will be very happy with that result, winners of the Six Nations a year ago a team full of passion, grit and determination.
Canada beat Spain 31-7 with Magali Harvey of Canada being the pivot for the whole match scoring 24 points by halftime and 26 for the match! She is currently the top try and points scorer with Kelly Brazier of New Zealand right on her heels. However New Zealand lead the total points ranking at the moment. In the final match hosts France beat Wales infront of a huge crowd 26-0 largely thanks to Welsh errors. Tactical kicking from Wales was their saving grace it just was never converted into points.
So we wait till the 5th of August when the next games are played out as follows: USA v Kazakstan, Australia v Wales, England V Spain, Canada v Samao, New Zealand v Ireland, France v South Africa. Once again Im not sure there are any juicy pairings although the England v Spain game could be interesting from Spain on a good day. Im keen to see how the 7’s stars settle into the 15’s format and if they can sustain this level of attack and energy. Will there be more high scores to come and records broken? I think so.
My only challenge is can I wait until the 5th for the next round? It cant come quick enough.