Women’s World Cup 2017: Round 4 Preview

The Women’s World Cup enters its fourth enters the first round of play-off games this coming Tuesday, 22 August in Ireland. 

The 2017 Women’s World Cup has just flown on bye with the first round of play-off fixtures set to take place on Tuesday the 22nd of August. This round will see New Zealand and the USA square off in one of the semi-finals, while England and France lock horns in an All Six Nations clash in the second semi. Elsewhere, hosts Ireland take on Australia in one of the fifth-place semi-finals while Spain and Hong Kong lock horns in one of the ninth-placed semis.

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To Win (80 Mins)

Italy | Draw | Japan *Odds to be added upon release
Italy | Japan 

Italy v Japan | 9th Place Semi-Final | Tuesday 22 August | Queen’s University | 13:00

Italy will be looking to bounce back from their shock 2-8 defeat to Spain when they take on a Japanese side who more than held their own against Australia in the last round of fixtures. The Japanese ladies really did put in a solid shift against the Wallaroos going down by just 14 points. They could well give what will be a rather dejected Italian side a massive run for their money here.

Verdict: Italy
While Japan did impress last time out, I think they may be spent from their effort. Italy are also likely to bring a few of their fringe players in, which will only make them sharper. Get on the Italians at?

To Win (80 Mins) *Odds to be added upon release
Ireland | Draw | Australia
Ireland | Australia

Ireland v Australia | 5th Place Semi-Final | Tuesday 22 August | Kingspan Stadium | 15:00

Ireland and Australia will lock horns for the second time in the tournament when they meet at the Kingspan this Tuesday afternoon. The Irish ladies managed to claim the victory in the last clash between the two sides as they ran out 19-17 victors. And with the Hosts looking in much better form than their opponents, they may be set to do the double here.

Verdict: Ireland
The Wallaroos have got worse as the tournaments progressed and I think the Irish will once again have their number. 

To Win (80 Mins) *Odds to be added upon release
Spain | Draw | Hong Kong
Spain | Hong Kong

Spain v Hong Kong | 9th Place Semi-Final | Tuesday 22 August | Queen’s University | 15:30

The Spanish Ladies will be looking to claim back-to-back wins when they take on a Hong Kong side that has had multiple hidings inflicting upon them since the tournament got underway. The Spanish ladies produced the upset of the tournament in the last round as they beat Italy 22-8. And while the result didn’t see them move into a higher play-off position, it is still a massive victory for Italian Women’s rugby.

Hong Kong also put in a much better shift in the last round as they managed to avoid conceding more than 50 points for the first time in the tournament. Their 35-15 loss to the Welsh was their best result so far and would have been a massive morale booster.

Verdict: Spain
Despite Hong Kong putting in a brave performance last time out, Spin should have no troubles getting the better of them.

To Win (80 Mins) *Odds to be added upon release
Canada | Draw | Wales 
Canada | Wales

Canada v Wales | 5th Place Semi-Final | Tuesday 22 August | Queen’s University | 18:00

The Canadian ladies can count themselves extremely unlucky to be contesting a 5th place semi instead of one of the semi-finals proper, as they really have been one of the top four teams in the tournament. The women from ‘The Great White North’ missed out on the semis proper due to them failing to score bonus points during the group phase. Their rightful – they should really be their ahead of their Southern neighbour – place in the semis was taken by the USA who claimed two extra bonus points during the Pool phase.

Verdict: Canada
I’m not even going to bother analyzing their opponents as I think Canada will be way too strong.  

To Win (80 Mins)
New Zealand 1/20 | Draw 46/1 | USA 15/2

New Zealand v USA | Semi-Final | Tuesday 22 August | Kingspan Stadium | 18:00

The all-conquering New Zealand Women’s side will be looking to make it a clean sweep of the North Americas when they take on the USA this Tuesday out in Belfast. The Silver Ferns obliterated a solid Canadian side in the last round running out 48-5 victors at Billings Park. And while the USA did put in a plucky display against the English – they only went down by 21 points – they are unlikely to lose this one by less than thirty.

Verdict: New Zealand (-) 9/10
New Zealand will canter past the margin with time to spare. 

To Win (80 Mins)
England 6/10 | Draw 18/1 | France 14/10

England v France | Semi-Final | Tuesday 22 August | Kingspan Stadium | 20:45

The Northern Hemisphere’s two powerhouse women’s sides go head-to-head at the Kingspan this Tuesday in what should be a cracking fixture. England come into this one off the back of a solid attacking showing against the USA while France showed off their defensive prowess as they managed to hold a fired up Irish side to just one try.

Both of these sides have been in red hot form in the tournament, running in some mammoth wins, so this is likely to be a close-run thing.

Verdict: France 14/10
I’m backing the underdogs to get their own back on the English after going down 26-13 to their opponents in the 2017 Six Nations.

Written by Darry Worthington for @Hollywoodbets.net

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