RLWC 2021 WRAP: Pool Matches - Women's Week 3


As Week 3 of the Women's Rugby League World Cup unfolds, here's your one-stop shop for results, reports and tables from each match and group.

All listed times are AEST (NSW/QLD/VIC/ACT).

RELATED: See the full list of 2022 2021 Women's Rugby League World Cup Draw and Results.

Canada Women 22
Brazil Women 16

Venue: Headingley Stadium, Leeds
Crowd: 5471
Date: Thursday 10 November 2022 at 4:00am

Tries: Ferris Sandboe, Sarah Maguire, Megan Pakulis, Alanna Fittes
Conversions: Dani Frananda (3/4)

Tries: Franciny Amaral, Edna Santini, Patricia Bodeman
Conversions: Maria Graf (2/3)

Canada scrape past Brazil in World Cup thriller

AJ Lucantonio | November 10 2022 8:41AM

Canada has won the 'Battle of the Americans' with a thrilling 22-16 victory over Brazil in their final group match of the Women's Rugby League World Cup in Headingley.

It was Brazil that opened the scoring inside the first ten minutes when Franciny Amaral crossed in the sixth minute. Amaral got across the line as she thundered forward and slid over the line to give the Amazonas an early 6-0 advantage. They should've had a second just minutes later, but at the critical moment the movement broke down with the line in front of them. 

The lack of fine-tuning on the Brazillian's finishing would come back to bite when the Canadian Ravens hit back midway through the first half. Laura Mariu displayed her ball-playing skills to put centre Ferris Sandboe over down the right-hand side of the park and it appeared that they would take the momentum of the game with them. 

That theory was on display four minutes later as the Ravens crossed for a second when Sarah Maguire took a short ball from Kristy Sargent to score and give Canada the lead. Sandboe should have had a second in the shadows of half-time but she spilt the ball with the line open and the Ravens went to the break up by four.

Brazil started the second half strongly when Edna Santini intercepted a wayward pass from Canada's Mariu to race 90 meters to level the scores back at 10-10. However, the Ravens were able to overcome its errors quicker and Canada soon re-captured the lead.

Megan Pakulis was able to burrow her way out of the dummy-half position, and after a lengthy check from the video referee, she was given the green light and it appeared they would take the momentum to get home. 

But without giving up the fight, Brazil were able to hang in there and level the scores back up at 16-16. Their third try of the contest came eight minutes from the end when Patricia Bodeman did what Pakulis did up the other end and burrowed her way over the line to lock the contest back level.

The final moments were tense, as both sides were trying desperately to break the deadlock. Eventually, Canada broke the tie on the scoreboard with just under 90 seconds to play when Alanna Fittes crossed the stripe keeping the ball just inside the field of play. A kick ahead by Canada was eventually toed ahead once more Dani Frenada and Fittes won the race to the ball first after the ball had a bounce from heaven to secure the Ravens first win of the tournament.

This was Canada's second Women's World Cup victory, after beating PNG by 22-8 in 2017. Coach Mike Castle stressed the importance of building upon this victory for the next World Cup.

"We have to use this momentum now and keep building the game in Canada and look forward to three years' time." Castle said.

For Brazil, it was a case of heartbreak for the first-time participants. Their coach Paul Grundy was proud of his side's growth in this tournament.

"I couldn't be prouder of the girls, they did exactly what we asked this time. A win would have been fantastic but the girls have a lot more in them and once they started to click it was brilliant." said Grundy. 

LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Alanna Fittes
2 points - Maria Graf
1 points - Kristy Sargent

England Women 42
Papua New Guinea Women 4

Venue: Headingley Stadium, Leeds
Crowd: 5471
Date: Thursday 10 November 2022 at 6:30am

Tries: Leah Burke (3), Tara Stanley, Amy Hardcastle (2), Vicky Whitfield, Caitlin Beevers
Conversions: Tara Stanley (5/8)

Tries: Martha Molowia
Conversions: Emily Veivers (0/1)

England secure group top spot as they blow Orchids away

Lachlan McIntyre | November 10 2022 8:44AM

England have run out 42-4 victors over Papua New Guinea in Leeds this morning.

The final clash in group A had first spot on the line, and England have made a statement in claiming it. The win means that England will meet the loser of the Australia vs New Zealand showdown in their semi-final. Papua New Guinea's tournament is still alive, although they now face a tougher route to the cup.

The game started poorly for England, with Emily Rudge dropping the ball cold on the first play of the match. Papua New Guinea then forced a dropout, and continued to apply pressure with Elsie Albert almost crashing over next to the uprights. The Orchids opened the scoring in the 4th minute through Martha Molowia on the left edge, but the unsuccessful conversion attempt saw the scoreline remain 4-0.

Following the try, England began to get going. With some possession to work with, they started winning the forward battle in the middle. As a result, attacking field position was created, but they couldn't turn opportunities into points. Referee Benjamin Casty went upstairs to check whether Caitlin Beevers got the ball down for her side, but the winger had gone into touch.

Only three minutes later Beevers would go into touch again, this time off an ill-advised shortside play. England kept turning the ball over, with passes just going behind players and small errors costing them opportunities. In the 24th minute, Beevers got yet another chance, but this time she was held up by some strong PNG defence.

Leah Burke finally opened the English account in the 24th minute off an early kick from her halfback, Courtney Winfield-Hill. Papua New Guinea's defensive resolve seemed to weaken slightly following this, and so it was only a few minutes later that Amy Hardcastle crossed to bring the scoreline to 8-4. 

Some poor discipline late in the first half from the Orchids invited England back on the attack, and it was Tara Stanley who increased her team's lead just before half-time. Leading 14-4 at the break, England had wrestled their way on top despite some disappointing attacking play. 

Back to back penalties gave England early attacking ball in the second half, with Leah Burke crossing for her second of the game in the 46th minute. Five minutes later, Vicky Whitfield crossed the stripe to extend the English lead to 22 points. Whitfield was one of the players of the match for England, making several significant carries and line-breaks.

A high tackle sin bin in the 64th minute for PNG's Carol Humeu gave Leah Burke the opportunity to score her hat-trick try. The 4-pointer came once again from a crossfield kick by her halfback, Courtney Winfield-Hill. With 13 minutes on the clock, the scoreline was threatening to get out of hand with the Orchids down to twelve players.

Two late tries for England rounded out the match, with Caitlin Beevers crossing for her much awaited first try of the game, and Amy Hardcastle crossing for her second. The successful conversion from Tara Stanley on the stroke of full time capped off a comfortable 42-4 win for the English, but they have work to do before next week's semi-final.

Papua New Guinea need to regroup and refocus ahead of their own impending semi-final clash. They showed patches of great resolve and teamwork, but in the end it was fatigue that wore them down.

LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Vicky Whitfield
2 points - Jodie Cunningham
1 points - Courtney Winfield-Hill

France Women 18
Cook Islands Women 26

Venue: LNER Community Stadium, York
Date: Friday 11 November 2022 at 4:00am

Tries: Melanie Bianchini, Elisa Ciria (2), Cristina Song Puche
Conversions: Elisa Ciria (1/4)

Tries: April Ngatupuna, Terehia Matua, Mackenzie Wiki, Alekermay Tuaana, Tetuanui Dean
Conversions: Terehia Matua (3/5)

Cook Islands get their first win after titanic struggle

AJ Lucantonio | November 11 2022 8:51AM

The Cook Islands have defeated France by 26-18 for their first victory in this Women's Rugby League World Cup after a titanic struggle at the LNER Community Stadium in York.

It was both sides' final match of the group stage, but with national pride as well as their first win of the tournament on the line. Both sides had a point to prove in this match and made their intentions known right from the opening whistle. It was the Cook Islands that opened the scoring after a tough opening 15 minutes of play. The play that led to the first try was well orchestrated, the Cook Islands had several bodies in motion before April Ngatupuna crashed over to score. 

Eight minutes later, France was able to capitalise on some strong field position and hit back on the scoreboard when Melanie Bianchini ran perfectly onto a lovely pass from the French captain Alice Varela. Unfortunately, goal-kicking would be a major factor in this fixture as the miss from out-wide by Elisa Ciria saw France still trailing by two points with just under fifteen minutes remaining in the first half. 

Three minutes later, that margin was extended out to eight points when Terehia Matua charged her way forward to the line and the French were struggling to hang in there with the opposition as they were trailing 12-4. That's the way the score would remain as both sides went into half-time. Straight after the break, the Cook Islands continued their scoring when boom youngster Mackenzie Wiki crossed the line for the second time this tournament. Wiki was able to get on the end of a lovely set play to cross in the right corner and it was beginning to be one-way traffic. 

But, the French side was able to hang in there and their efforts were rewarded six minutes later. A charging run down the middle was backed up by 5/8 Elisa Ciria who importantly improved the position for her conversion to reduce the gap to just six points. Cook Islands responded on the hour mark with a clever try. Alekermay Tuaana was on the receiving end of a great off-load to extend the lead for the Pacific island nation.

Four minutes later though, France were able to restore some order back into the contest. Cristina Song-Puche was on the end of a clever pass from the French second rower and she was able to cross in the right corner, but once again goal-kicking haunted France's chance at a comeback. The result was put beyond doubt eight minutes from time when Tetuanui Dean crashed over from acting half. A consolation try to Ciria reduced the gap to eight but it was in vein as the Cook Islands' ladies celebrated their first win of the tournament finishing their campaign on a winning note. 

LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Elianna Walton
2 points - Mackenzie Wiki
1 points - Elisa Ciria

Australia Women 10
New Zealand Women 8

Venue: LNER Community Stadium, York
Date: Friday 11 November 2022 at 6:30am

Tries: Tarryn Aiken, Julia Robinson
Conversions: Ali Brigginshaw (1/1), Lauren Brown (0/1)

Tries: Apii Nicholls, Autumn-Rain Stephens-Daly
Conversions: Brianna Clark (0/2)

New Zealand put up superb fight, but fall just short of upsetting Australia

Adam Huxtable | November 11 2022 7:05PM

The New Zealand Kiwi Ferns were not swayed by their underdog status heading into their blockbuster clash against the Australian Jillaroos, however their spirited effort just wasn't enough to see them get the win, falling by 2 points in a scrappy match dominated by defence.

The tone was set for the match right from the opening kickoff, Brianna Clark of New Zealand getting things underway. A communication collapse from the Jillaroos meant that the ball was allowed to bounce, and from there it sailed over the dead ball line, putting the Kiwi Ferns in prime attacking position immediately.

The Rugby League gods giveth and the Rugby League gods taketh away though, as the old saying goes, and the opening play error from Australia wasn't taken advantage of as New Zealand put it down on tackle one. 

The Jillaroos came into the match as heavy favourites, however you wouldn't have known it if this match was the only exposure you had to either team. Back to back set restarts saw Australia march into supreme field position, but NZ produced superb defence to stop them breaching the line, and it wasn't the only time in the match they did this. 

The Kiwi Ferns were unable to match their defensive prowess with attacking prowess though, turning the ball over frequently and coming up with poor last tackle execution on the rare occasions they were close to the opposition line. 

Australia were finally able to find a way through at the 20 minute mark, with Tarryn Aiken too strong for the Kiwi Fern defence as she burrowed her way under them and got to the line. 

The try could've easily been the straw that broke the camel's back for NZ, however they quickly made it evident that one defensive blip didn't mean they were going to turn into the easybeats many expected they'd be prior to the match. They were able to drag Isabelle Kelly touch in goal, and used the ensuing 7 tackle set to generate momentum that would eventually become a try Apii Nicholls, who scored by chasing through a grubber from Raecene McGregor. 

The conversion, although it was from right in front, was missed by Brianna Clark off the upright, which would eventually prove extremely costly as New Zealand ended up losing by two points. 

Both teams continued to struggle in attack, with numerous last tackle kicks sailing dead along with terrible handling by the Australians in particular, who finished with a 64% completion rate. 

New Zealand would hit the lead in the 56th minute, with Mele Hufanga making a line break that would set up a left side overlap for the Kiwi Ferns, who spread it right to Autumn-Rain Stephens-Daly on the next play, the winger going over untouched. The conversion was missed again, keeping the lead at 8-6. 

Australia would finally string a decent period of attacking football together shortly afterwards, and it resulted in Julia Robinson being on the end of an overlap and scoring to make the score 10-8. There were question marks on the backwardness of the last pass from Jess Sergis, but the ref deemed there were no issues. 

That's where the score would stay for the rest of the match. New Zealand produced some more outstanding defensive efforts, in particular a try saving tackle from Amber Hall to stop what appeared to be a certain try for Shaylee Bent. 

Both sides each now turn their attention to the semi finals. Australia will take on Papua New Guinea and New Zealand will face England in a double header on Tuesday morning (AEDT time), with the potential for a rematch in the final should both sides emerge victorious.

LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Amber Hall
2 points - Raecene McGregor
1 points - Tarryn Aiken

Group standings

The top two nations in each group proceed to the Semi Finals.

Group A


Group B


For comprehensive historical statistics on the Women's Rugby League World Cup, make sure you check out Rugby League Project.

Match Review

Check back soon.

Player of the Tournament leaderboard

Our LeagueUnlimited volunteer writers assign 3-2-1 points after each match. Check back soon for updated points.

8 points - Raecene McGregor (New Zealand)

7 points - Courtney Winfield-Hill (England)

5 points - Tarryn Aiken (Australia)

4 points - Martha Molowia (Papua New Guinea)

3 points - Alanna Fittes (Canada), Amber Hall (New Zealand), Sam Bremner (Australia), Elianna Walton (Cook Islands), Belinda Gwasamun (Papua New Guinea), Tara Stanley (England), Vicky Whitfield (England), Jessica Sergis (Australia)

2 points - Jodie Cunningham (England), Mackenzie Wiki (Cook Islands), Mele Hufanga (New Zealand), Maria Graf (Brazil), Elsie Albert (Papua New Guinea), Amy Hardcastle (England), Anika Butler (Papua New Guinea), Katelyn Vaha'akolo (New Zealand)

1 point - Kristy Sargent (Canada), Petra Woods (Canada), Shanice Parker (New Zealand), Elisa Ciria (France), Apii Nicholls (New Zealand), Kezie Apps (Australia), Jaime Chapman (Australia), Victoria Molyneux (England)

Next week - Semi Finals

Australia v Papua New Guinea
Tue 15 Nov 4:00AM at LNER Community Stadium, York

England v New Zealand
Tue 15 Nov 6:30AM at LNER Community Stadium, York