On the same day that 15,000 Aucklanders circled the city on their 26-mile marathon course, England once again took the direct route to World Cup success.
As they have throughout the tournament in New Zealand, Simon Middleton’s Red Roses used their fearsome rolling mallet and starting line to dispatch Australia in dirty conditions at Waitakere Stadium. England’s forward-dominated approach is not for everyone. Some want to see more.
Former captain Katy Daley-McLean has been among the critics who have argued that head coach Middleton’s team should play more expansive and entertaining rugby.
Sarah Hunter celebrates scoring one of seven tries against Australia in England’s big win
Hunter became the most capped England women’s rugby player with her 138th appearance
It’s a laughable suggestion.
England is now 29 games unbeaten. In their conduction deck they have a weapon that their rivals cannot stop. Why would they change course?
It’s also clear that if they have to, they certainly have the attributes.
“It’s not unlike what New Zealand are doing, but they’re doing it at the back,” said Middleton, when asked about his team’s use of a power play.
‘When it comes to rugby ties, it’s about winning. You play to your strengths and I don’t really recognize the criticism. Does it frustrate me? Probably a little. It puzzles me a bit.
Marlie Packer in full flow as she converts the win from her three tries as England defeat Australia
‘It doesn’t have to be play, play, play. This is rugby in the southern hemisphere: fantastic. We are one side of the northern hemisphere. We are very good at what we do.
England’s quarter-final with Australia was played in appalling conditions. Torrential rain meant running rugby was never in the cards. The direct approach was completely here.
Captain Sarah Hunter became the most capped player in English rugby with the first of her team’s seven tries in her 138th match. All seven English tries were scored by forwards with outstanding flanker Marlie Packer contributing a hat trick
“A lot has been said about the driving maul and how we’re scoring attempts,” Hunter said.
“But ultimately no one will look back and say, ‘How did England score?’ They look at the score and if it ain’t broke, you don’t need to fix it.’
England dominated the game and are now unbeaten in 29 games after the quarter-final victory.
The clocks turned back as these quarter-finals played out, but England’s time in New Zealand is far from over. They will meet Canada in the quarterfinals at Eden Park on Saturday.
A final with the hosts seems inevitable. Such a game would be a clash of styles with the Blacks Ferns, the tournament’s main entertainers.
In Portia Woodman and Ruby Tui, New Zealand has superstar endorsements. Woodman has seven tries in the tournament to date.
“New Zealand play a fantastic style of rugby,” Middleton said. They’re red hot, right? They have to be favorites for the competition. They are on home soil, they have demolished the whole world.
“Everyone is labeling us as favourites, but they have home court advantage and the trophy.”
The England rugby team looks set to reach the final in New Zealand to play the hosts
Hunter got England on the scoreboard in the first half against a determined but limited Australia team. The heavy rain leading up to the game somehow got worse during the first 40 minutes. It meant that mistakes were common.
However, England’s game plan was spot on as they dominated possession and territory and scored three tries to lead 19-5 at half-time.
Packer added a double to Hunter’s opener and scored two more in the second period. Abbie Ward, Amy Cokayne and Alex Matthews also crossed over. England’s deck was unstoppable.
Before England thinks of reaching the final they must beat Canada in the semi-finals
“You have to build through the tournaments and I’m very, very happy with where we are,” said Hunter, who received a good luck message from England men’s head coach Eddie Jones before kick-off. of the party.
‘My phone has not stopped. I have a lot of people to answer to. It sure is very, very humiliating.
Middleton and England are right where they should be leading their final fortnight in New Zealand. They lost Zoe Aldcroft to a yellow card in the first half against Australia.
But when a team wins as frequently as this Red Roses side, it’s often tempting to criticize for the sake of it. Perhaps that is why some still want to see more of one of the most successful teams English sport has seen. Test rugby is all about winning and that’s what this England team does. “We are multi-faceted,” Middleton argued.
‘Against Fiji and South Africa we played as good rugby as any. We have said that we want to leave here a better side than when we arrived.