Australia’s Jillaroos have booked their passage to the World Cup Final with an impressive 72-0 victory over France in the UK early this morning.
The Jillaroos raced in 14 tries – fullback Samantha Hammond scoring five in her just her second Test – in a dominant final hit-out before their last group match against New Zealand on Thursday.
Winger Emma Tonegato also crossed for a hat-trick of tries in an unforgettable debut for the Jillaroos, while prop Stephanie Hancock and centre Jenny Sue-Hoepper each crossed twice as the Jillaroos led 28-0 at half-time.
Jillaroos coach Paul Dyer was satisfied with the performance ahead of their showdown with the tournament favourites.
“In the first half we were a bit flat,” Dyer said.
“For us it’s just about regrouping now and making sure we manage injuries. We play New Zealand on Thursday and that should be a good test for us.”
The final group match against New Zealand will be an exciting preview of the World Cup Final, with the Jillaroos and Kiwis now guaranteed a berth in Sunday’s Final regardless of the result in the pool match.
NRL Chief Executive Dave Smith, who was on the sidelines to support the Jillaroos, paid tribute to the skill level shown by all teams.
“This has been a great day for women's Rugby League,” Smith said.
“I am very proud of the Jillaroos, but I also want to congratulate every team for the way the games were played.
"The game was tough with plenty of hard contests but the ability and talent of our players was of the highest order.”
JILLAROOS 72 (Samantha Hammond 5, Emma Tonegato 3, Stephanie Hancock 2, Jenny Sue-Hoepper 2, Jess Palmer, Jo Barrett tries; Ali Brigginshaw 8 goals) def FRANCE 0.