By Associated Press - Thursday, August 17, 2017

DUBLIN (AP) - Four-time champion New Zealand blew away Canada 48-5 and set up a semifinal against the United States at the Women’s Rugby World Cup on Thursday.

Defending champion England will play France in the other semifinal on Tuesday in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Canada, ranked third, one spot behind New Zealand, was the runner-up in 2014, and hadn’t conceded a point in its first two pool games. But it was overwhelmed in the pool decider, in which Black Ferns tighthead prop Aldora Itunu scored two of their five first-half tries for a 29-0 scoreline. Itunu completed her hat trick, all from rucks close to the line, in the second half.

England’s forwards were also too good in pushing aside the U.S. 47-26 in another pool decider. But the Americans’ bonus point for scoring four tries helped them qualify as the best runner-up in the three pools.

France knocked out host Ireland 21-5, scoring all of its points in the first half hour. Ireland, despite dominating possession and territory in the second half, couldn’t reply until the last minute.

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