Women's Rugby World Cup: Ireland stun New Zealand

Ireland 17 (7)

Tries

O'Brien, Miller

Pen

Briggs

Cons

Briggs 2

New Zealand 14 (8)

Tries

Winiata

Pens

Brazier 3

Ireland inflicted New Zealand's first defeat in a World Cup for 23 years with a 17-14 victory in Marcoussis to virtually seal a semi-final place.

The Black Ferns have won the last four tournaments and had not lost a World Cup game since a defeat to the United States in the 1991 semi-finals.

New Zealand's Selica Winiata scored the opener but the 2013 Six Nations winners replied through Heather O'Brien.

Alison Miller's try in the 63rd minute proved crucial for Ireland.

Niamh Briggs converted both tries and kicked a penalty when the game was locked at 14-14 in the second half.

Philip Doyle's team had beaten the USA in their opening Pool B match and now play Kazakhstan on Saturday.

They are top of Pool B on eight points while New Zealand and the USA, who meet each other on Saturday, are on six.

The USA beat Kazakhstan 47-7 in Tuesday's other Pool B game.

It was the first time Ireland's women had played the Black Ferns. Ireland's men's team have never beaten the All Blacks in 28 meetings stretching back to 1905.

"It's absolutely wonderful to win against the world champions," said Ireland captain Fiona Coghlan. "All credit should go to the coaches, the analysis team and the game-plan they gave us.

"The heads never dropped because we were on the same page. Even when they went ahead, we knew we would go back up there, score and win the game.

New Zealand coach Brian Evans said: "We're very disappointed, but fair play to Ireland. They outmuscled us, they forced errors, but huge congratulations to them for that."

Women's Rugby World Cup - Pool B

P

W

D

L

PF

PA

TF

TA

BP

Pts

Ireland

2

2

0

0

40

31

4

3

0

8

New Zealand

2

1

0

1

93

22

14

3

2

6

USA

2

1

0

1

64

30

10

3

2

6

Kazakhstan

2

0

0

2

12

126

2

21

0

0

Ireland's women started the game strongly but failed to reap any points from their domination of possession.

Briggs dragged a penalty wide and it was New Zealand who got the opening score when Kelly Brazier converted a penalty in the 22nd minute.

Soon afterwards it was 8-0 as Winiata got in at the left corner for a try.

Ireland regrouped to put New Zealand under pressure, and this time they made it count as number eight O'Brien forced her way over for a try under the posts.

Briggs converted to leave the Irish just a point behind at half-time but Brazier added a penalty in the second half for 11-7.

Then came the vital score as Briggs gathered and broke forward to feed winger Miller who raced strongly to the line to score in the left corner.

Briggs landed a superb conversion from the touchline but New Zealand hit back to level the game through a third Brazier penalty.

Fittingly, it was the impressive Briggs who kicked the match-winning penalty.

Ireland: Niamh Briggs, Ashleigh Baxter, Lynne Cantwell, Grace Davitt, Alison Miller, Nora Stapleton, Tania Rosser; Fiona Coghlan (capt), Gillian Bourke, Ailis Egan, Sophie Spence, Marie Louise Reilly, Paula Fitzpatrick, Claire Molloy, Heather O'Brien

Replacements: Sharon Lynch, Fiona Hayes, Laura Guest, Siobhan Fleming, Larissa Muldoon, Jenny Murphy, Vikki McGinn

New Zealand: Selica Winiata, Renee Wickliffe, Huriana Manuel, Amiria Rule, Honey Hireme, Kelly Brazier, Emma Jensen; Kathleen Wilton, Fiao'o Fa'amausili (capt), Aleisha Nelson, Eloise Blackwell, Jackie Patea, Rawinia Everitt, Linda Itunu, Casey Robertson

Replacements: Stephanie Te Ohaere-Fox, Ruth McKay, Justine Lavea, Aroha Savage, Kendra Cocksedge, Claire Richardson, Shakira Baker