Catch up with the action from the Round of 16 matches here!

Challenge Quarter-Finals

The Challenge portion of this competition is hard to gauge because teams look like they’ve either settled in after nervy starts or have nothing more to lose.

Fiji, China and England both beat their opponents (PNG, South Africa and Mexico) by greater margins than Australia, Russia or New Zealand could in the Round of 16, while Japan and Brazil played out a close Challenge quarter-final, with Japan prevailing.

Championship Quarter-Finals

New Zealand casually thrashed Ireland 45-0 to reach another semi-final without conceding a point. They made a few errors, but none that had any impact on their ultimate progress. Ireland will be disappointed after a hard-fought upset over England earlier in the day.

France and Canada played out the closest of quarter-finals, with the loudest crowd of the early evening until the United States emerged for the final match. After a seesawing scoreline throughout the match, France snatched a win in the last minute, while the US was able to comfortably hold off a late surge by Russia.

Australia hit their stride nicely to book a semi-final spot –  in their most dominant display against Spain. Evania Pelite found an excellent time to score three tries, calling it unreal.

“I didn’t really think about it, but it’s definitely a really surreal feeling,” she said.

“We’re just treating it as a day two at the World Series.

“We’re just focussed on our next opponent, we’ll worry about New Zealand when we come across them,” Pelite said.

Co-captain Sharni Williams spoke of the format change and admitted the side has work to do to get their game where they want it.

“You’ve got to come out firing a bit quicker than in the World Series -where you can afford to maybe lose one game and still make it to the final- but here it’s do or die,” she said.

“We’ve definitely got to perform from the start, and we’ve been slipping up a bit here and there, but that second half was good because we knew how to finish it.”

Williams is relishing her return from injury, not having played since April. Another returning star, Ellia Green had a great day out and was delighted after the two wins.

Green stretched her legs nicely in her minutes, both rounding opponents and palming them off her with a number of powerful runs, relishing it all.

“I love the contact. My teammates don’t like me doing contact, but I love it. I love running; love the wind through my braids. Rugby is the best game in the world.”

Tomorrow sees Australia play France (4:22am AEST) in the first Championship Semi-Final followed by New Zealand versus USA. 

  Both matches will broadcast on Fox Sports 501.