FRANCE: Ireland pulled off one of the greatest ever shocks in women’s rugby by beating reigning champions New Zealand 17-14 in their World Cup pool match in Marcoussis, France.
A late solo try by wing Alison Miller, followed by a penalty from Niamh Briggs, clinched a famous victory for the Irish women and sent them top of Pool B. It was only the Black Ferns’ second defeat at a World Cup since the tournament began in 1991, ending a run of 20 games unbeaten during which they won the trophy four times in a row.
Briggs was Ireland’s hero, kicking two conversions as well as the tricky penalty that won the match. Heather O’Brien scored the other Irish try in a match in which they were behind until the hour mark. Ireland replaced New Zealand, also reigning men’s world champions, at the top of the pool on eight points and will qualify for the semi-finals if they beat Kazakhstan in their final group match. New Zealand are level with the US on six points and must beat the Eagles in their last pool match to have a chance of making the last four, comprised of the winners of each of the three pools plus the best scoring second-placed team. Agencies