Wallaroos vs France: Five things we learned

Womens Rugby World Cup
by Sam Phillips

France completely outclassed the Wallaroos in Dublin this morning.

Here's what we're talking about after the 48-0 result.

1. France are flying

The Wallaroos were well below their best today but in truth, this French outfit is flying.

In two starts they have scored 120 points and both the Wallaroos and Japan put in solid performances against Ireland, showing they are no slouches.

They have a skill base far better than all teams bar New Zealand and that will hold them in good stead come finals time.

Based off this performance, they should easily account for Ireland in their final pool match and push forward for a deep finals run.

2. Wallaroos weaknesses exposed

Nareta Masters and the Wallaroos struggled to get out of first gear. Photo: ARU Media/Brendan HertelThere were weaknesses in this Wallaroos outfit that had the blowtorch applied this morning.

They were there for all to see in the three Tests earlier this year and while they have no doubt improved, they are still well short of the level required to truly contend at this level.

Those weaknesses are the scrum, lineout and kicking in general play, three facets of play which severely hamstring any rugby side, let alone one at a World Cup.

The scrum was under the pump from the opening minute, the lineout struggled for any continuity in both attack and defence and the kicking lacked the punch to put the French in their own half for any sort of lengthy time frame.

3. Riordan makes impact known

Sarah Riordan forecast a big showing in her introduction to the starting XV and she walked the talk today.

Her combination with Sharni Williams was a power packed one and it was the sole threat Australia had in an attack that was otherwise blunted.

The work on the defensive side of the ball was also impressive, as she led the defensive line and made a few crunching hits.

4. Gray gaining ground

Mollie Gray was back to her physical best today. Photo: Getty ImagesThere were a couple of loose carries in Mollie Gray's performance but she was otherwise among Australia's best.

Her return to the Test arena was overshadowed by stellar performances from Shannon Parry, Hilisha Samoa and Grace Hamilton but today, Gray led the Australian pack.

The trademark physical carries were there, as was the ruthless defensive work.

It is remarkable that she is able to compete at such a high level given she ruptured her ACL no more than six months ago.

5. Where to now?

With an 0-2 record, a semi final berth is now out of the equation.

The Wallaroos finished seventh at the last World Cup and finishing higher than that must be top priority.

Beating Japan - who gave Ireland an almighty scare this morning - on Friday is the first step in reaching that goal.

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