The England women’s rugby team have become the first team to secure a place in the World Cup final after a resounding victory against Canada.
The Red Roses held off a late push from their amateur semi-final rivals in Auckland to end the tight 26-19 game, which saw both teams score three tries.
Simon Middleton’s side had to dig deep to extend their winning streak to 30 matches and set up a showdown with hosts and defending champions New Zealand on November 12.
Speaking after the match, Middleton said: “We came here to get into the final, and we had to go through it today.
“Canada were absolutely brilliant today, they just don’t make mistakes with the ball and put a lot of pressure on you.
“We have a bit of work to do this week to get our game back up because we didn’t play well today.”
England captain Sarah Hunter said: “It was amazing.
“We came here to play this game next week, but Canada really tested us.
“To the wire it went, so proud of how the team dug in at the end. Canada was relentless, they came and they came and they came and the girls just put their body in play.
“We were desperate to get into that final next week.”
She added: “We’re a team that realizes we haven’t won anything yet. We’ll save the party until we get the result we want next week.
“You can see what it meant for the girls afterwards. We did our job, we will enjoy it, but the big statement is next week. That’s where we have to focus.
“It was a tough game. Recovery is absolutely essential now. We have to be as fresh and ready to play as possible.”
Canadian captain Sophie de Goede was full of praise for her team’s efforts.
“There was no difference in talent today,” she said.
“Just imagine what we could do with more games and more resources. I’m really proud to be Canadian and we have a great future ahead of us.”
England will face the Black Ferns in the final at Eden Park after France fly-half Caroline Drouin missed a last-minute penalty to win the semi-final.
New Zealand emerged 25-24 winners after coming from behind at half-time to stage a blockbuster final against the Red Roses next Sunday.