ENGLAND stayed on course to retain the women's rugby World Cup as they edged out Australia 30-13 to secure a place in Tuesday's semi-finals.
Experience was the key as the holders overcame a resolute Australia. The England pack slowly ground down their opponents after the first half ended 10-10. Paula George, the England full-back, touched down and Claire Frost added a conversion and penalty. In the second half England scored four tries to a penalty.
Wing Niki Brown, scrum-half Emma Mitchell, lock Linda Uttley and replacement Joanne Yapp were the England scorers.
The hard pitch contributed to injuries to Helen Clayton, Jo Poore and Gill Burns, who had come on as a replacement.
All three will receive treatment tomorrow on Monday before the team is picked for the semi-final.
The dreams of Scotland, the Five Nations champions, were dashed by the USA who beat them 25-10. Tries from flanker Diane Schnapp and captain Jenny Crawford, with the latter converted by Jos Bergmann, put the USA in command while Scotland could manage only one first-half score, a Paula Chalmers penalty.
England now face favourites New Zealand in the semi-final after the All Black women beat Spain 46-3. The seemingly invincible New Zealanders, who have run in 34 tries in their opening two games, finally broke a spirited Spain. "New Zealand are an outstanding side but they are showing signs that their unbeatable tag is beginning to slip" said Mitchell.
"Both Spain and Scotland showed that New Zealand find close forward play hard to match and if we play to our strengths we can take them".
In the other semi-final, Scotland's conquerers, the USA, play Canada who defeated France 9-7.
Copyright (C) The Sunday Times, 1998
Phillips, Marian. "George opens route for grand England defence; The rugby column." Sunday Times [London, England] 10 May 1998