Jillaroos beat Ravens for final spot

Australia has advanced into the 2017 Rugby League Women's World Cup final after they defeated the Canada Ravens 58-6, following a masterclass from five-eighth Ali Brigginshaw at Southern Cross Group Stadium in Cronulla.

The win sets up a mouth-watering clash with the New Zealand Kiwi Ferns in the World Cup final on Saturday as Australia aims to be crowned back-to-back champions.

The Jillaroos scored at over a point a minute in the opening 40 minutes of play, before overcoming a fight back in the second half to run 11 tries past the brave Canadians.

Australia had a dream start to the match when Queensland half Brigginshaw scored in their first set of the match after getting a lucky bounce from her own kick in behind Canada’s defensive line to open the scoring after just two minutes.

Then just three minutes later, Australia crossed over once again when powerful forward, Steph Hancock, carried multiple defenders with her as she moved across field before getting sight of the white stripe and forcing her way over the line.

Already at a 12-0 disadvantage after just five minutes of play, Canada was beginning to have flashbacks to their 88-0 defeat at the hands of the Jillaroos earlier in the week.

And unfortunately for the Ravens, Australia kept the foot on the gas and ran in another six tries before the half-time siren brought an end to the carnage.

A double to up-and-coming centre, Isabelle Kelly, and Brigginshaw once again benefiting from a favourable bounce for her second of the half, helped Australia to reach an imposing 42-0 lead at the end of the first half.

As the second half got underway, Australia came out of the sheds to meet a rejuvenated Ravens outfit who managed to draw first blood.

With their best attacking opportunity of the game, Canada became the first team to score a point against the Jillaroos in more than three hours of football, when Natasha Smith burrowed her way over from dummy half.

Canada fullback, Irene Patrinos, had no problems adding the extras as Canada began to fight back against the immensely talented Australian team. 

Canada forced the match into an arm wrestle for the first 20 minutes of the second half, limiting Australia’s time on the ball and only conceding one try.

But after Ruan Sims found her way to the line in the 57th minute, the points started to flow again as Australia ran in another two tries and ran away with the game to set up a blockbuster clash with New Zealand for the 2017 Rugby League Women’s World Cup.

Australian coach, Brad Donald, was pleased with his team’s overall performance, but said a slow second half showed there is still room for improvement.  

“We could have finished the game off a little bit better than what we did, but to be honest we ended up with backrower in the centres and just trying to make sure we got everyone a run.

“I’m really pleased to win a semi-final by 50 points.”

With the chance to be crowned back-to-back World Cup champions, Donald is hoping to get the best out of his players next week if they are to beat New Zealand.

“They’re a real strong side they carry the ball strong and they’ve got some depth in their team as well so It’s gonna be one hell of game.”

Australia Jillaroos 58 (Karina Brown 2, Ali Brigginshaw 2, Stephanie Hancock 2, Isabelle Kelly 2, Talesha Quinn, Ruan Sims, Nakia Davis-Welsh tries; Caitlin Moran 7 goals) defeated Canada Ravens 6 (Natasha Smith try; Irene Patrinos goal) at Southern Cross Group Stadium.
Halftime: Jillaroos 42-0

* This first appeared on the RLWC website