The second day of Women’s Rugby World Cup 2014 in Marcoussis has made history in more than one way.
Ireland turned the tournament on its head by going top of Pool B as they defeated defending champions New Zealand 17-14, met by scenes of absolute elation from the girls in green and their faithful travelling fans.
It was confirmed on Wednesday that a record breaking number of viewers tuned in to see yet another superb performance from hosts France. Just under 1.5 million viewers witnessed the Grand Slam winners defeat South Africa 55-3.
Former England international turned TV commentator Sue Day described how the teams might be feeling after such a show-stopping day.
“Firstly there will be confusion over Ireland’s win because there’s a world order that has always seen New Zealand win games at World Cups,” she said.
“But then there’s hope. It just proves to players that anyone can win. If they play well and they're are organised like Ireland were, they have got a shot.”
“It’s not hyperbole to say that it was a historic match. It’s the first time that Ireland have ever beaten New Zealand. It’s the first time since 1991 that the Black Ferns have lost.”
So what does this mean for #WRWC2014?
“It’s a huge result, it throws things wide open for qualifications for the semi-finals which is great for the Game. I’ve been saying all along that this is the most competitive Women’s Rugby World Cup that there’s ever been and that absolutely proves it,” Day explains.
“New Zealand still have a good chance of progressing as they got a losing bonus point from yesterday’s match.
“The top teams from each pool progress to the semi-finals. That’s unlikely to be New Zealand but they have an incredibly good points difference from the first game so they still have a very good chance of going through although it depends on the result from the other pools.”
In a day of stand out team performances, several key players made all the difference for Day.
“Niamh Briggs was incredibly important to Ireland.” she said.
“The accuracy and the distance that she got from her kicks is what really made the difference for them, which meant that they were able to play the match in the right places.”
“For France, the big ball carriers Safi N’Diaye and Assa Koita were great but Christelle Le Duff coming in at fly half looked really threatening. She really controlled the game well and took the ball to make it really hard for the defence.”
So if match day two had this many sparks what have we got to look forward to from day three of #WRWC2014 on Saturday?
“There’s going to be a big game between France and Australia.” Day says, anticipating the Pool C clash.
“They don't get to play each other very often and both have won two games.”
“France have got to be favourites on the back of yesterday’s performance but Australia are a really good side. They tend to start their matches very well so I’m looking forward to seeing that one.”