Woodman shines as New Zealand reach women's rugby World Cup final
Belfast (AFP) - England will face New Zealand in the women's Rugby World Cup final after the holders cruised to a 20-3 victory against France in Belfast on Tuesday.
Prop Sarah Bern and substitute back Megan Jones scored the decisive second-half tries for England at Kingspan Stadium.
Emily Scarratt was the star when England defeated Canada to win the title three years ago and once again the centre took the spotlight with two penalties and two conversions.
France dominated large periods of the opening 40 minutes, yet they couldn't get past England's rock solid defence.
England showed only occasional glimpses of their attacking ability and they will have to go up a gear to emulate their victory against New Zealand in their last meeting two months ago.
England will bid to be crowned back-to-back world champions in Saturday's title match and their captain Sarah Hunter said: "It's fantastic that we've come and done the job that we wanted to do.
"Our defence won that game. France came at us and they've given us the greatest test we've had so far in this tournament.
"We knew we had the mindset. Both defences stood up and the tackle count shows that but we had a white wall and there was no way they were getting across our try line tonight.
"One try and France would have been back in the game but we pride ourselves on our defence and Megan Jones made a fantastic tackle."
In Tuesday's other semi-final, Portia Woodman scored four tries in New Zealand's 45-12 demolition of the United States.
Top ranked New Zealand were too hot for the US to handle, amassing seven tries in a one-sided affair.
The States led early in the first half following a Kris Thomas try that Alev Kelter converted, but once the Black Ferns found their rhythm, there was no stopping them.
The four-time world champions took a third-minute lead when fly-half Victoria Subritzky-Nafatali touched down.
After their opponents briefly led, a Kendra Cocksedge penalty edged New Zealand back in front before she converted Woodman's opener to secure a 15-7 interval advantage.
A second Woodman score and Cocksedge penalty opened up a 16-point gap, and then New Zealand underlined their quality during a blistering final quarter that saw them claim four tries in 15 minutes.
Woodman added two more, then replacement hooker Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate claimed another touchdown before Kelly Brazier completed an emphatic second-half display and Cocksedge converted.