Rugby World Cup: Tournament favourites England power past Australia to book semi-finals spot

England have powered past Australia to book their spot in the Rugby World Cup semi-finals with a dominant performance at Waitākere.

The tournament favourites relied on their strong set-piece in wet conditions to clinch a 39-5 victory, and set up a showdown with Canada after they defeated rivals USA in the other quarter-final.

Matthews scores a try.
Matthews scores a try. Photo credit: Photosport

With rain bucketing down in west Auckland, England immediately turned to their impressive lineout and scrum.

Captain Sarah Hunter became the most-capped player of all time with 138 appearances, and celebrated the milestone by scoring the game's first try.

The England pack marched their way over the tryline, allowing for the simplest of put-downs for the big No.8.

Meanwhile, Australia lacked cohesion in the trying conditions, and struggled to put together any meaningful phase of attack early on.

They found reprieve after English lock Zoe Aldcroft was yellow-carded for making contact with a player's head at the breakdown.

Australian winger Lori Cramer looked to capitalise on their numerical advantage with a mammoth penalty attempt at goal, but it fell short.

England prop Sarah Bern looked to have scored a try in her 50th game, but was held up just short of the line.

It was then Australia's turn to go down a player, with captain Shannon Parry shown a yellow card for being offside after several penalties.

Unlike Australia, England made the advantage count, with loose forward Marlie Packer the recipient after a clever inside pass from first-five Zoe Harrison to go over for the try.

But Australia would have the last say of the first half, with back-rower Emily Chancellor diving over for her team's first try after beautiful interchange play.

England weren't resting on their 19-5 lead at the break, extending it through lock Abbie Ward, who crashed over after a powerful lineout drive.

Much like their previous try, hooker Amy Cokayne was the beneficiary of another strong maul, breaking away to score in the corner.

English flanker Alex Matthews crashed over for another score, before Packer grabbed her second of the game right on fulltime to extend their winning streak to 29 games.

Meanwhile, Canada overcame a shaky first half to beat North American rivals USA 32-11 to seal their spot in the semi-finals.

USA were considerable underdogs heading to the fixture, but stunned their opponents with the game's first try through Joanna Kitlinski.

Canada rallied to score two of their own with McKinley Hunt and Karen Paquin both crossing, but held just a 12-8 lead at halftime.

But a further try to Alex Tessier, and strong defence, conceding just two penalty goals, saw Canada surge to a 20-point victory.

Canada No.8 Sophie de Goede was prolific with the boot, scoring 12 points to lead her side into the semi-finals.

England 39 (Packer 2, Hunter Ward, Cokayne, Matthews tries; Rowland 2 con)
Australia 5 (Chancellor try)

Canada 32 (Hunt, Paquin, Tessier tries; de Goede 2  con, 3 pen
USA 11 (Kitlinski try; Kelter 2 pen)