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Ireland's magnificent Maz leads our World Cup team of matchday 1

Here are the players who stood out on the opening day of the tournament.

15. Selica Winiata (New Zealand)

Selica Winiata is tackled by Jodie Evans Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

The Black Ferns fullback is the first of four players in our XV to score a hat-trick of tries on the opening day of the tournament, as she helped her side to a comfortable 44-12 win over Wales.

14. Magali Harvey (Canada)

Magali Harvey with Colleen Tjosvold Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

Harvey helped herself to five tries, three of which came in the first half, during Canada’s demolition of Hong Kong at Billings Park. A combination of electric pace and sublime footwork saw her cause serious damage and the winger was deservedly named player of the match.

13. Caroline Ladagnous (France)

Caroline Ladagnous is presented with the AON Player of the Match award Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

The French centre was hugely influential during their big victory over Japan and set the tone early on with a piece of individual brilliance which saw her cut through and dot down under the posts. Ladagnous went onto score two more after the break to complete a fine display.

12. Kelly Brazier (New Zealand)

Kelly Brazier with Elinor Snowsill Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

The scoreline may suggest otherwise but Wales asked serious questions of New Zealand at Billings Park and Kelly Brazier showed all her defensive prowess with four big tackles in midfield. The experienced 12 is also hugely effective on the ball and pulled the strings for the Black Ferns, making 22 passes.

11. Kay Wilson (England)

Kay Wilson scores a try despite the efforts of Maria Casado and Amaia Erbina Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

England sent out a real signal of intent in the opening game of the tournament and Kay Wilson was the star as she crossed four times in the 10-try rout of Spain. The winger possesses pace and power and a brilliant finishing ability which will no doubt make her one of the biggest threats in the tournament.

10. Katy Mclean (England)

Katy Mclean is presented player of the match by Rory Maloney from AON Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

England out-half Mclean was player of the match despite her team-mate’s hat-trick and it was a true reflection of the impression she made on the game. Orchestrating proceedings and dictating the tempo from 10, Mclean was central to everything the defending champions did and her cross-field kick for Wilson’s second try was superb.

9. Larissa Muldoon (Ireland)

Larissa Muldoon scores their first try Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

The energetic scrum-half was outstanding for Ireland as they kick-started their campaign with a narrow and tense win over Australia. Not only did she set the hosts on their way with a sniping first-half finish but her passing was accurate and crisp throughout.

1. Liz Patu (Australia)

Eimear Considine with Nareta Marsters and Liz Patu Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Not many expected the Australian scrum to be much of a match for Ireland’s set-piece but the Wallaroos caused Tom Tierney’s side serious problems as the game progressed, with Patu very much at the centre of it.

2. Cliodhna Moloney (Ireland)

Cliodhna Moloney with Narita Marsters Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

The Ireland hooker had a very solid game and produced a near faultless throwing display, while also showing great energy and dynamism around the field in open play. Her bulldozing run led to Sophie Spence’s try.

3. DaLeaka Menin (Canada)

Portia Woodman with DaLeaka Menin Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

The Canadian prop was a powerhouse during her 48 minutes on the pitch, carrying for more than 110 metres and operating almost as an auxiliary centre as she battered through the Hong Kong defence.

4. Lenaig Corson (France)

Katie Dugan tackles Lenaig Corson Source: Craig Watson/INPHO

Corson made a telling contribution in the second row and showed all her power in the first half with a series of thumping carries.

5. Marie Louise Reilly (Ireland)

Marie Louise Reilly wins a line-out Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

‘Maz’ was an absolute colossus for Ireland. She tackled, stole, disrupted and ripped during a monumental performance. The player of the match, and no more needs to be said.

6. Sara Parsons (USA)

Sara Parsons is presented with the AON Player of match award Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

USA were incredibly impressive on the opening day as they picked up a bonus point on their way to a 24-12 victory over Italy at the Bowl, with flanker Sara Parsons standing out. In a physical encounter, Parsons regularly put the head down and made hard yards, getting across the gain line and putting her team on the front foot.

7. Shannon Parry (Australia)

Shannon Parry Source: James Crombie/INPHO

As Ireland celebrated at the full-time whistle, you couldn’t help but feel for Australia captain Shannon Parry. She had given absolutely everything and was left physically and emotionally shattered at the death, ruing a missed opportunity for her side. The Olympic gold medallist was everywhere for her side in the first half, carrying hard and her second-half try gave the Walloroos the lead with 20 minutes remaining.

8. Harriet Millar-Mills (England)

England v Spain - 2017 Women's Rugby World Cup - Pool B - UCD Bowl Source: Brian Lawless

The two-time English Premiership player of the year appears to have carried her immense form into this tournament. A try sealed a powerful performance from the back-rower and already Millar-Mills looks set to be one of the stars of this World Cup.


Source: The42 Podcasts/SoundCloud

The Rugby Show: Lynne Cantwell breaks down Ireland’s nail-biting start to the Rugby World Cup

‘It starts the minute they get back to the dressing room’: Recharging Ireland on a 3-day World Cup turnaround

 

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