Rugby World Cup: England thrash Australia 41-5 to reach World Cup semi-finals

Sarah Hunter became the most-capped England and women's international
Sarah Hunter became the most-capped England and women's international
©World Rugby

England 41-5 Australia, Waitakere Stadium, Auckland

Marlie Packer scored a hat-trick as England ran seven tries to trounce Australia 41-5 in the World Cup quarter-final at Waitakere Stadium in Auckland on Saturday.

They will now face the winner of the Canada and USA in the semi-final with New Zealand and France clashing in the other knock out match.

The result also meant England now have 29 consecutive wins on a day when Sarah Hunter registered her 138th appearance to become England and women's most capped international.

Hunter celebrated her milestone by scoring the opening try inside 10 minutes that came after a powerful England scrum that drove her over the line and vice-captain Emily Scarratt kicked the extras to make it 7-0.

With the wet weather around, Australia could not quite push forward and they were handed a lifeline when England's Zoe Aldcroft was sin-binned for a high clear out but Lori Cramer missed a penalty from a 45m distance.

Australia were down to 14 players temporarily with skipper Shannon Parry sin-binned around the half-hour mark for repeated infringements as England got their second try through Packer that came at the back of a driving maul.

Scarratt missed the conversion but ensured she improved Packer's second try that came in the 38th minute after good work from the England forwards to make it 19-0.

Just at the stroke of half-time, Australia made some grounds through Emily Chancellor, who slid over the line but Cramer's missed conversion meant Simon Middleton's team had a 19-5 lead at the end of the opening half.

England looked relentless after the break as Abbie Ward dived from close range and in the 53rd minute Amy Cokayne also dotted down at the back of a line out. Scarratt missed both the conversions but England's lead rose to 29-5.

England continued to dominate as their sixth try came through Alex Matthews after brilliance from forwards and Packer completed her hat-trick in the closing stage after a line out drive to steer the red rose team to another World Cup semi-final.

"We've spoken all week about trying to get a good start and we're used to these conditions back out in England, and it showed," said England captain Hunter.

"We can adapt and still play rugby. I'm really proud of the way the girls attacked this game. It's easy when you see it pouring down to shy away but the whole group fronted up.

"We're in knockout rugby and that's the sort of performance you want."

Team line up:

England: Rowland; Thompson, Scarratt, Heard, Dow; Harrison, Infante; Cornborough, Cokayne, Bern, Aldcroft, Ward, Matthews, M Packer, Hunter (capt).

Reserves: Davies, Botterman, Muir, Galligan, Cleall, L Packer, Aitchison, Kildunne.

Australia: Piliae-Rasabale; Terita, Friedrichs, Williams, Cramer; McKenzie, Morgan; Patu, Talakai, O'Gorman, Leonard, Kemp, Chancellor, Parry (capt), Hamilton.

Reserves: Naden, Robinson, Karpani, Naiqama, Duck, Batibasaga, Smith, Murphy