France dominate Italy to book World Cup semi-final spot

France produced a dominant second-half performance to blow Italy away 39-3 in their Rugby World Cup quarter-final.

The contest at Semenoff Stadium in Whangarei, New Zealand seemed fairly even at half-time, with France up 10-3 before they returned to pile on the points.

They enjoyed a stunning 74 per cent of territory and 61 per cent of possession throughout the match, which allowed them to score four second-half tries to go with one before the break.

Three of those went to winger Joanna Grisez, including her final score in the 70th minute which came after a typical team effort to create an enormous overlap.

Italy, who made history with their first World Cup quarter-final appearance, were forced to muscle up in defence as they made 195 tackles to their opponent’s 112. At one point they endured 14 phases in defence before stealing the ball under their own posts.

France captain Gabrielle Vernier admitted in a post-match sideline interview it had been a “tough few weeks”, but the inside centre added her side on Saturday “proved we are one of the best and we hope to do our best next week”.

The victors will next face either New Zealand or Wales at Eden Park in Auckland.