Kelly no case to answer on biting charge
Jillaroos centre Isabelle Kelly has no case to answer on a biting allegation levelled against her in her team's comprehensive win over England on Sunday.
Kelly was placed on report by referee Todd Smith in the 38th minute of the 38-0 thumping of England was the only blemish for the home side winning its second World Cup match on the trot. On Sunday night, the match review panel found Kelly had no cse to answer.
At the time of the alleged incident, England forward Chantelle Crowl reacted by pulling her arm out quickly in a two-woman tackle on Kelly close to halftime. Crowl insisted she wanted to make a complaint when quizzed by referee Smith. The ground manager was called over to photograph her forearm.
"It really is out of character," Jillaroos coach Brad Donald said of Kelly after the game. "She would never do anything [like that] intentionally. She's a really good girl. I can't see that she would have done too much."
Kunst was nearby when the tackle was made on Kelly.
"I was there but I didn't see too much in it," Kunst said, adding that it was not in Kelly's nature.
"We'll just see what comes of that. We'll be preparing the same way we have for the rest of the tournament.
"[Kelly] is fine. As I said the focus turns to the next game regardless of what happens."
The England team did not back down from the accusation immediately after the match.
"I saw it… [Crowl] showed me and there was a clear mark on her arm," said captain Andrea Dobson. "But they will look at it."
Asked if it was a bad look for the women's game, Dobson chose her words carefully.
"You know what, those things happen. You get arms, you get things in your face and sometimes you can't see it coming. It's just one of those things."
England coach Chris Chapman also maintained there was a mark on Crowl's arm.
"It's not nice to see it in any game," Chapman said.
"But the reaction is that there's pressure in a game when there are hands and bodies around there (the player's head). It's something for the judiciary and that's it."
Chapman has other concerns within his squad. Centre Amy Hardcastle (right ankle) limped from the field in 33rd minute and didn't return. Then halfback Kirsty Moroney missed most of the second half after failing a concussion test following a 48th minute collision. Chapman also has to find a way to repair England's battered defensive line.
"We're hurting. We didn't come here for that kind of result," said.
There was a glimmer of a revival by the English with a better second half defensively – letting in only three tries compared with five in the first half.
For Donald, after seeing his team let in one Cook Islands try on Thursday, he was pleased the Jillaroos' wall was rock solid against England.
"When you keep a clean slate for the match it just shows how dedicated the girls are for the same cause, and how hard they worked," Donald said.
"The England girls threw an awful lot at us today. They were a much stronger team and carried the ball harder than the Cook Islanders. Not taking anything away from the Cooks but we knew they (England) had more experience and would be tougher. So we're very happy we got numbers in tackles and dominated in defence. Our attack was a little clunky – we've got lots of room for improvement in attack.
"If we set the bar high enough then we're going to raise the bar for the whole women's game across the world."
Kunst left the field with the help of trainers in the 79th minute with severe cramp in her left calf. Initially fears were held she might have torn it, which could have ruled her out of the tournament.
"It was just a really bad cramp and [the calf] kept contracting," Donald said.
"The doctor could see it. It's not a tear – just moving around in there," Kunst added, although she will be in doubt for Canada on Wednesday.
"That's up the coaching staff. They will have a plan A and a plan B. It's just about recovery and moving forward," she added.