Fans of heroic defence will need no second invitation to watch the semi-final of Rugby World Cup 2010, which can be seen again on Easter Monday via the official Rugby World Cup Facebook page and World Rugby’s official YouTube channel, at 19:00 BST.
Nicole Beck’s last-ditch try-saving tackle on England’s Fiona Pocock (pictured) in the first half is every bit a part of Aussie rugby folklore as George Gregan’s infamous corner-flagging tackle on Jeff Wilson that stopped a certain score in the Bledisloe Cup, while at the other end the Red Roses had to be at their most resolute to repel a Wallaroos side full of attacking intent in their first – and only – RWC semi-final appearance.
England’s Maggie ‘The Machine’ Alphonsi was the heartbeat of an incredible England defence that conceded the fewest points in the tournament with just 23 across five matches, and none in the semi-final against Australia as the hosts ran out 15-0 winners at The Twickenham Stoop. She was later nominated, along with team-mate Danielle Waterman and Beck, for the IRB Women’s Personality of the Year 2010 award.
Spencer leads from the front
From the moment captain Catherine Spencer scored a converted try, England always had control of the scoreboard against a Wallaroos side containing seven of the players who had won the inaugural RWC Sevens title in Dubai the previous year.
As the first quarter drew to a close, a second try looked inevitable when Pocock raced into space wide out on the left, but she hadn’t expected Beck to send her flying into touch after racing across from the opposite wing.
England did not have to wait long for their next score, though, as Waterman dotted down a couple of minutes later for what turned out to be the last points in the match, despite the best efforts of Australia, until Alice Richardson's 78th-minute penalty.
“There was a mixture of relief and happiness at the end of the game. I came off at 60 minutes and it was very hard to watch the last 20 minutes, but I have full confidence in the girls. At the end, there was a bundle of emotions – relief that we’d done it and excitement for Sunday," said Spencer, post-match.
The hosts suffered heartache in the final for the third tournament running, losing 13-10 to defending champions New Zealand before a sold-out Twickenham Stoop crowd, but Australia bounced back to claim the bronze medal at the expense of France.