Packer leads the way for Red Roses
Flanker Marlie Packer led the way, with a hattrick in sodden conditions, as England advanced to the semi-finals of the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.
With the rain falling heavily before kick-off, conditions for both sides were atrocious, as the referee blew her whistle. Despite the challenge of the rain, England made a fast start, as record-breaking captain Sarah Hunter dotted down from the back of a scrum on the day that she became England's most capped international.
Conditions were dictating the game, with both sides struggling to gain any real momentum in the pouring rain. One area the Red Roses were continuing to gain the upper hand though was at the set-piece, as Saracens pair Leanne Infante and Zoe Harrison kicked their side into key attacking positions.
England continued to press on, with Packer denied a try by her own arm, as she inadvertently held the ball up over the line. She wasn't to be denied though as minutes later, she crashed over from the back of a rolling maul, before picking a delicious line off of Harrison to score her second shortly before half-time.
Australia hit back with a well-worked score of their own, but England kept the pressure on in the second half, with further scores from Amy Cokayne, Abbie Ward and Alex Matthews, before Packer completed her hattrick in the final minute of the match.
Fellow Saracens Hannah Botterman, Poppy Cleall and Holly Aitchison also made an impact off of the bench, as the Red Roses put in an accomplished display to set up a semi-final with Canada next weekend.
Speaking at full-time, Player of the Match Packer admitted that she was loving playing for her country, whilst also praising the test that Australia had given her side.
"I love playing for England. I want to put my body on the line and be the best rugby player I possibly can. Australia were fantastic today, but we now look to the semi-finals next week and build from this game into the next one. Our scrum has phenomenal today, but as the tournament goes on, we want to play some more running rugby."