World Cup Wrap - Week 1
Last-gasp victories, record-shattering results and record crowds. The opening round of the Rugby World Cup has certainly lived up to the hype.
In all, 13 Saracens players and 5 former Saracens played their part in a thrilling set of opening matches that set a high bar for the rest of the tournament. With record attendances and some scintillating rugby on the pitch, find out how our past and present Saracens stars fared on the opening weekend of the tournament.
England 84-19 Fiji
A total of 6 Saracens players played their part in a thrilling contest, as the Red Roses cut loose in the second half, to score a record-breaking 14 tries against a determined Fijian side making their debut at the tournament.
Scrum half Leanne Infante got herself on the scoresheet early in the second half, whilst Zoe Harrison added two conversions.
Fiji, playing their first ever World Cup fixture, rattled England in the first half, with Saracens’ centre Rachel Laqeretabua playing an important part, before England cut loose in the second half, scoring ten tries in total, including a cheeky intercept from Infante.
South Africa 5-40 France
A promising performance from her side ultimately ended in defeat for Catha Jacobs, as she made her World Cup debut off the bench against France, in an entertaining encounter.
Whilst the French raced into a 19-0 lead, South Africa fought hard, keeping the French honest throughout the contest.
It would take until the 67th minute for the French to secure their bonus point score, after South Africa had crossed for a try of their own through Nomawethu Mabenge.
In the end, the French would prove to be too strong, but their overall performance will give South Africa a lot of confidence heading into next week’s clash with Fiji.
USA 10-22 Italy
It wasn’t to be for club captain Lotte Clapp and her USA teammates, as they suffered a 12-point defeat to Italy, despite going ahead early on in the game.
Clapp, playing in her first World Cup match, looked lively in the opening exchanges, as the USA powered over in the early minutes of the match.
Despite a huge defensive effort from an American side that also contained former Saracens Carly Waters and Alev Kelter, Italy struck towards the end of the half to take a narrow lead.
Whilst the USA narrowed the gap, the Italians, with former Saracen Valeria Fedrighi in the side, would eventually pull clear to seal an important victory.
Canada 41-5 Japan
This could have been a tricky fixture, but Alex Ellis and her Canada side showed that they are more than up for the fight, as they secured a comprehensive victory over Japan.
Hooker Emily Tuttosi scored a hattrick, whilst Canadian captain and former Saracen Sophie de Goede added two conversions, on a dominant afternoon for her side. Saracens prop Ellis came off the bench for the final half an hour of the contest, as Canada kept the pressure on, to move past the forty-point mark with a final try.
Wales 18-15 Scotland
Inter-club bragging rights went to Georgia Evans and Donna Rose, as an 85th minute penalty from Keira Bevan snatched an 18-15 victory over a Scotland side containing Saracens teammates Jodie Rettie and new signing Louise McMillan.
Whilst Wales took a 15-5 lead, Scotland would fight back with a brace from Megan Gaffney. It would prove to be in vain though, as late penalty from Bevan ultimately sealed a tense victory for the Welsh.
This was a physical encounter, with neither side giving an inch. For Wales, it was defence that won out, with Rose and Evans making 11 and 8 tackles respectively on the night.