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England overcame a tough start to the first half to defeat a committed PNG Orchids side and confirm their spot at the top of Pool A.

The home side ran in eight tries overall to claim a 42-4 victory - which means they will next face the second-placed team from Pool B in the semi-finals, which at this stage based on current standings is New Zealand.

The Orchids however started the game the stronger with the forwards, in particular skipper Elsie Albert with 172 run metres, laying a platform to see fullback Martha Molowia open the scoring in the match.

From there however, England settled into their game and were able to turn their 14-4 lead at halftime into a comfortable win. 

Match Snapshot 

  • It was a strong start from PNG, forcing an England error from the kickoff on their first carry.
  • The Orchids were able to capitalise and crossed for the first try of the game with Martha Molowia - a player of the match winner in Round 1 - adding to her overall try-scoring tally for this World Cup.
  • The try meant it was the first time England had gone behind in a game in the tournament.
  • After being denied multiple times on their right-hand side, England found joy on their left, with Courtney Winfield-Hill putting in a great kick to find the awaiting arms of Leah Burke for their opening try.
  • Winfield-Hill and Burke would combine two more times in carbon-copy tries to give the England winger her hat-trick.
  • Tara-Jane Stanley’s conversion wobbles during this World Cup improved, with the 2022 Woman of Steel winner slotting five from eight conversion attempts.
  • England forward Vicky Whitfield made a strong impact from the bench with a number of powerful runs and was rewarded for her efforts with second-half try.
  • While England were expected to win this match, PNG and the Lionesses have an interesting history, with the Orchids scoring their first ever Test win against England when they secured victory in front of their home fans in Port Moresby in 2019.
  • Vicky Molyneux, who was the Round 2 player of the match winner in England's victory over Canada did not play in this match against the Orchids
  • PNG may have one injury concern leading into their next match, with Michelle John helped from the field. 
  • England lock Jodie Cunninham with 124 run metres and 39 tackles was named player of the match and copped a black eye for her troubles, feeling the full force of some strong Orchids defence through the match.

Play of the game 

The play between England halfback Courtney Winfield-Hill and winger Leah Burke was pretty to watch, with the duo combining for three impressive tries overall. 

What they said

"We had a tough game, but they did so well, particularly the second half, really physical. Our completion rate wasn't great in the first 15-20 minutes, we knew we had to sort that out and we were so much better in the second half, we were smarter and we stayed composed." - England forward Jodie Cunningham 

"We started really well, but we just couldn't get into field position, they played really well, credit to England, they played really well, controlled the ball, controlled the game, controlled the ruck, so we got a lesson tonight, but these girls should be proud of what they have done so far, but we have to turn around in the next five or six days and get ready for our semi-final." - PNG Orchids coach Ben Jeffries

What's next

Having won their two preceding pool matches, both England and the Orchids had already secured their spots in next week's semi-finals, with this match only deciding who would top the pool. Having claimed the win to finish first in Pool A, England are set to face off against New Zealand in the double header at LNER Community Stadium, York, on Tuesday November 15, while PNG will likely meet Australia. 


Acknowledgement of Country

Canberra Raiders respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.