Valkyries duo help England reach World Cup final

Worcester Valkyries duo Lydia Thompson and Rochelle Clark helped England Women see off France 20-3 at the Kingspan Stadium, Belfast to book their place in the World Cup final. 

Worcester Valkyries duo Lydia Thompson and Rochelle Clark helped England Women see off France 20-3 at the Kingspan Stadium, Belfast to book their place in the World Cup final. 

The Red Roses will now take on New Zealand on Saturday as they return to the Kingspan Stadium in their quest to win back-to-back World Cups after winning the showpiece event in 2014. 

On Tuesday evening, Emily Scarratt got the first points of their semi-final clash with France, courtesy of a penalty on the 17-minute mark before France wing Shannon Izar slotted from the tee to make it 3-3 at half-time.

In a tight game with few try-scoring opportunities, Kay Wilson's break out wide almost led to a try before Scarratt got her second penalty to nudge England ahead. 

A succession of pick-and-drives near the France line saw Sarah Bern crash over for the first try of the game and her first at international level.

France had a score ruled out after a try-saving tackle by Meg Jones and then the centre latched onto a handling error to score England's second try and book a place in Saturday's final (August 26, live on ITV, 7.45pm BST).

England Women Head Coach Simon Middleton said: “It was game befitting of a World Cup semi-final. France have been incredible in this tournament and we've seen both sides of them with the flair, but they showed their toughness tonight.

“We had to fight every inch of the way but I'm absolutely thrilled. We said at half-time if we were patient and we kept the tempo up, tweaked what we were doing a little bit and were patient in the 22, we would get on top of them. We dominated the second-half, or large periods of it, and it was testament to France's defence that they were in the game right until the end.”

“We've been in a lot of tough situations this year, a lot of pressurised situations and have come out of the right side of them all, and we've one more to do. They won't need pointing in any direction and they'll know exactly what it will take on Saturday.”

Semi-Final 
England 20-3 France 
Tries | Bern, Jones
Conversions | Scarratt (2)
Penalties | Scarratt (2)

Pool B Results
 
England 56-5 Spain
Tries | Jones, Wilson (4), Scarratt, Millar-Mills, Matthews, Cokayne, Thompson
Conversions | Mclean (2), Scarratt
 
England 56-13 Italy
Tries | Scarratt (2), Matthews, Thompson (2), Cokayne, Taylor, Waterman (2), Wilson Hardy
Conversions | Scarratt (2) Reed
 
England 47-26 USA
Tries | Scarratt, Penalty try, Packer (2), Mclean, Wilson Hardy, Cokayne
Conversions | Scarratt (5), Penalty try