Rugby: Four-time champions New Zealand out of women's rugby World Cup

MARCOUSSIS (AFP) - Four-time defending champions New Zealand saw their hopes of a fifth successive women's rugby World Cup title end on Saturday.

Ireland's 40-5 thrashing of Kazakhstan at Marcoussis ensured they topped Pool B and England's 13-13 draw with Pool A rivals Canada saw them both finish on 12 points with the English topping the table by virtue of a better points difference.

New Zealand beat the United States 34-3 but that was not be enough for them to claim the best runners-up spot who join the three pool winners in the semi-finals as Canada had 12 points.

The Irish had dealt a bodyblow to New Zealand's chances of adding a fifth crown to their tally when they beat them 17-14 on Tuesday - their first defeat in the tournament since 1991.

In the final pool game, France made sure of their semi-final spot with a 17-3 win over Australia.

In the semi-finals on Wednesday, Ireland face England while France tackle Canada.