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England and France look to set up World Cup final showdown

England and France look to set up World Cup final showdown

England and France have the chance to set up an all-TikTok Women’s Six Nations World Cup final when the two sides play in their semi-finals on Saturday.

The Red Roses get proceedings underway at Eden Park in Auckland at 3:30am GMT when they take on Canada in a repeat of the 2014 final. 

Les Bleues square off against defending champions and hosts New Zealand in the second semi-final at 6:30am GMT. 

England’s best backline? 

A lot of talk has been made about England’s rolling maul, but watch out for their backline against Canada.

Tatyana Heard was player of the match in England’s final group game against South Africa and has kept her place partnering Emily Scarratt in the centres. 

The versatile Helena Rowland is at full-back, World Cup leading try-scorer Claudia MacDonald and Abby Dow occupy the wings, while Zoe Harrison and Leanne Infante match-up again as the half-backs. 

Jess Breach, who scored six tries on debut against Canada in 2017, is not even on the bench. 

While France come up against a side ranked two places above them, England have to be wary of dark horses Canada, who sit two below them in third. 

Canada emerged unscathed out of the pool of heaven, defeating Japan, Italy and USA all with bonus points. 

That set up a quarter-final with their North American archrivals, where they improved again, bettering their 29-14 win in the group stages to beat the USA 32-11 in the driving rain at Waitakere Stadium. 

France buoyed by quarter-final win 

France opened the World Cup with a 40-5 win over South Africa. It was a scoreline that belayed a rocky start but they have been steadily improving. 

They pushed England all the way in a 13-7 group stage loss, before defeating debutants Fiji 44-0, but it was their quarter-final win over Italy that will have given them the most confidence. 

With a slender seven-point lead at half-time, France scored 29 unanswered points to avenge their warm-up defeat to the Azzurre in September. 

France twice beat New Zealand last year but know they will face an entirely different beast in Auckland as they look to reach the World Cup final for the first time. 

When France and New Zealand met last year, the Black Ferns were kicking into gear after two years away from the international stage. 

Now, the hosts are fully firing on all cylinders, thanks in no small part to their attacking talent, headlined by Portia Woodman. 

She has crossed seven times to become the leading try scorer in World Cup history, while she has been ably assisted by Ruby Tui and Stacey Fluhler. 

Ayesha Leti-I’iga will have an impact of the bench, bringing some firepower that the Black Ferns may not need as they will already be pumped up by a passionate Kiwi crowd. 

France will look to their kicking game to have a silencing effect, with New Zealand admitting they will be keeping an eye on the accurate boots of Pauline Bourdon, Emilie Boulard and Caroline Drouin.