Jillaroos and Kiwis head for showdown

Southern Downs and Maroons trio Stephanie Hancock, Jo Barrett and Heather Ballinger are playing for Australia in England.
Southern Downs and Maroons trio Stephanie Hancock, Jo Barrett and Heather Ballinger are playing for Australia in England. QRL

THE Australian Jillaroos have the chance to inflict the first World Cup defeat on the New Zealand women when they meet tomorrow.

Regardless of the result of the final round games, Australia and New Zealand will play in the final at the weekend. Before they can think about the final, the two teams will meet in a round game.

Killarney prop Stephanie Hancock scored two tries and Warwick centre Jo Barrett one, as the Australia's Jillaroos scored a 72-0 victory against France yesterday.

The Jillaroos raced in 14 tries - fullback Samantha Hammond scoring five in just her second Test - in a dominant final hit-out before their last group match against New Zealand tomorrow.

Winger Emma Tonegato also crossed for a hat-trick of tries in an unforgettable debut for the Jillaroos.

Hancock and centre Jenny Sue-Hoepper each crossed twice as the Jillaroos went into halftime with a 28-0 lead.

Jillaroos coach Paul Dyer was satisfied with the performance ahead of their showdown with the tournament favourites.

"In the first half, we were a bit flat," Dyer said.

"For us, it's just about regrouping now and making sure we manage injuries. We play New Zealand on Thursday, and that should be a good test for us."

NRL chief executive Dave Smith, who was on the sidelines to support the Jillaroos, paid tribute to the skill level shown by all teams.

"This has been a great day for women's rugby league," Smith said.

"I am very proud of the Jillaroos, but I also want to congratulate every team for the way the games were played.

"The game was tough with plenty of hard contests, but the ability and talent of our players was of the highest order."

Former Scots PGC boarder Heather Ballinger, who now lives in Cairns, is playing in her first World Cup with the Jillaroos squad.

Topics:  jillaroos rugby league women's rugby league

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