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New Zealand defeats Team USA in Women’s Rugby World Cup semifinal

Despite an inspiring first-half run, the United States couldn’t keep up with New Zealand in the Women’s Rugby World Cup semifinal on Tuesday. The Black Ferns beat the Eagles 45-12 to advance to their fifth World Cup final in team history.

“This has taken a lot of hard work from the girls and we’re so excited to be in the final,” New Zealand captain Fiao’o Faamausili told reporters after the match. “Full credit to the USA, I have a lot of respect for them, they really gave it to us. We had to dig deep and I couldn’t be any prouder of my girls. Portia Woodman loves scoring tries and full credit to our forwards, who did all the hard work up front.”

In the first half, the Eagles played a tight defense keeping the Black Ferns from running away with the lead. The score was 15-7 at the whistle. In the second half, the U.S looked a bit fatigued on the pitch as New Zealand continued to pound on offense, with Portia Woodman scoring three tries for the Ferns.

New Zealand’s Kelly Brazier was named Aon Player of the Match for her intelligent playmaking and swift ball handling skills.

[More from Excelle Sports: France beats Ireland in Rugby World Cup, United States earns runner-up spot in semifinals]

The Black Ferns will next play the winner of the France versus England semifinal on Tuesday at 2:45 p.m. ET. England, the reigning champion, is the favorite to win.

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