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Summary

  1. Final score: England 20-3 France
  2. Bern, Jones tries, Scarratt 2 pens, 2 cons for Eng, Izar pen for Fra
  3. England are reigning world champions
  4. New Zealand thrash USA 45-12 in first semi
  5. Portia Woodman scores 4 of NZ's 7 tries
  6. Earlier Ireland lost to Australia and Wales were thrashed by Canada
  7. Click speaker button to listen to BBC Radio 5 live sports extra commentary

Live Reporting

By Louise Gwilliam

All times stated are UK

Onto the final...

FT: England 20-3 France

That's it from me.

We're back on Saturday from 19:00 BST with live text and radio commentary as England take on New Zealand in the World Cup final.

See you then!

England
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Home nations round-up

In the day's other games...

Canada hammered Wales to ensure they will face Australia for fifth place.

Ireland, who earlier lost to Australia, await Wales on Saturday with seventh place on the line.

Japan also lost to Italy and Hong Kong were beaten by Spain in the ninth-place semi-finals.

FT: England 20-3 France

And add Mike Brown to that...

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Get Involved

#bbcrugby

I think Chris is as excited as Sarah Hunter...

Chris Adams: Yes! Yes! Yes! Get in! Well done England! Great effort all round. Bring on the Kiwis! #SendHerVictorious#RedRoses

England into final

Sarah Hunter
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Right, so New Zealand beat USA and England saw off France in a nail-biting second semi to make the World Cup final.

If you missed any of that, or couldn't join me for the double-header, have a read of James Standley's report here.

It will explain all.

Recap: New Zealand beat USA

New Zealand 45-12 USA

Portia Woodman
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New Zealand scored seven tries in the first semi-final to hammer USA after a close opening half.

Portia Woodman - a former netball player - bagged four of them as she was unstoppable on the wing.

A tough test awaits England in the final on Saturday.

Full-time verdict

FT: England 20-3 France

FT: England 20-3 France

England go over to applaud their fans - who endured a wet night in Belfast to support their side. And they delivered.

England fans
BBC

FT: England 20-3 France

France had 84% possession for the first 10 minutes of that game and England were under severe pressure from the outset.

But their defence stood up and never really looked like leaking a try.

It wasn't a classic in terms of running rugby, but England stood up and edged out a talented French side.

The next test for their defence? The world number one side New Zealand.

'Defence won that game'

FT: England 20-3 France

Sarah Hunter
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England captain Sarah Hunter speaking to ITV:

"It's fantastic that we've come and done the job that we wanted to do. Our defence won that game. France came at us and they've given us the greatest test we've had so far in this tournament.

"We knew we had the mindset.Both defences stood up and the tackle count shows that but we had a white wall and there was no way they were getting across our try line tonight.

"One try and France would have been back in the game but we pride ourselves on our defence and Megan Jones made a fantastic tackle."

Bern's try decisive

FT: England 20-3 France

So England will have the chance to defend their crown after a hard-fought victory over France on a wet night in Belfast.

In a game full of errors, Sarah Bern came up with the crucial try for England as their forward pack handed the world champions victory.

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FT: England 20-3 France

Ian B: Superb focus and long error free phases despite the conditions from England in second half, thoroughly deserved finalists.

Full-time

England 20-3 France

England will play New Zealand on Saturday in the World Cup final.

Converted try - Jones, con Scarratt

England 20-3 France

England have done it.

It was Meg Jones' try-saving tackle which denied Julie Annery on 68 minutes and she's sent England through to the final.

Emily Scarratt puts the icing on the cake.

England 13-3 France

England win it safely and it's given to captain Sarah Hunter to carry it up the middle.

France are defending ferociously and they force another knock-on, this time it's Hunter.

We're into the final minute and England pop up with the ball at the scrum.

What can France do in the final 30 seconds?

Kay Wilson almost plucks an intercept out of the night sky but she can't keep hold of the ball.

England 13-3 France

England are edging towards the World Cup final and they're continuing to play with ambition.

Lydia Thompson is away down the right but they won't be rushing this.

The ball comes loose in the tackle but it's an England scrum!

Two minutes to play.

England 13-3 France

England on the front foot again as they go in search of the killer blow.

But it's stolen by the French and that's great running by the substitute scrum-half Jade Le Pesq before she's hammered into touch by the cover tackle.

England are awarded a penalty as France fail to roll away.

Five minutes to play and they're in the French half.

England 13-3 France

And to mark the final 10 minutes of the match, we get another unforced error.

Safi N'Diaye with the knock-on this time for France.

It's clearly still wet out there.

England 13-3 France

It's a good start for the new front three as they win the penalty at the scrum and Vicky Fleetwood has success with her first line-out throw too.

But as the referee screams use the ball, England obstruct in the transfer of the ball and France have the ball back.

We're into the last 10 minutes...

England 13-3 France

England survive the French onslaught once again as their entire front row leave the field.

On come Vicky Fleetwood, Rochelle Clark and Justine Lucas.

Their first task? A scrum.

No try - Annery

England 13-3 France

It's confirmed by the TMO - Julie Annery has a foot in touch.

France are denied a try by replacement Meg Jones. What a tackle.

Try review - Annery

England 13-3 France

Julie Annery has the ball over the line on the right-hand side.

But was she in touch? Has Meg Jones saved England with a huge tackle?

England 13-3 France

A hearts in mouths moment there for England as second row Lenaig Corson finds herself out on the wing and powers towards the line.

France are inside five metres now as we enter the final 15 minutes and there's space once again for Corson.

She batters through two England defenders before a huge tackle from substitute Amber Reed hauls down Montserrat Amedee who looks to be going clean through.

The French wave continues...

England 13-3 France

But things just aren't going France's way.

England get the turnover and the big boot of Katy Mclean puts them back into the French half.

Still very topsy-turvy in this game. England not home and dry yet.

England 13-3 France

Caroline Drouin gets the restart wrong once again but the French forwards win the ball back from the line-out.

And the outstretched hand of Kay Wilson knocks the ball on and it's a penalty to France.

They'll punt the ball deep in England's half.

Converted try - Bern, con Scarratt

England 13-3 France

And the try comes from England prop Sarah Bern who finally crashes through the French defence.

It's been all England this second half and they're finally over the whitewash.

Emily Scarratt adds the two and England have a little bit of daylight.

Sarah Bern of England crashes over the line to score
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England 6-3 France

England are pressing once again.

France have been defending for 30 minutes now. How much longer can they hold on?

They're back in a familiar position just three metres out.

Missed penalty - Scarratt

England 6-3 France

Emily Scarratt slices that one and it remains a three-point game.

Emily Scarratt of England kicks
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England 6-3 France

There is no way through that French defence at the moment.

England with the advantage though as Safi N'Diaye is penalised for not rolling away.

England will have another pop at goal here, but not the seven points they would've wanted.

England 6-3 France

But that's so frustrating.

Marlie Packer takes her eye off the ball from the pass from Sarah Hunter and it's lost forward.

A game full of handling errors so far.

England 6-3 France

That's a mistake by Shannon Izar.

She took the ball back into her 22 and then kicked it out on the full.

England will have the line-out in a much better position - they're in the points zone.

They scored three push-over tries against the USA in their last match, and they need to do it again.

Penalty - Scarratt

England 6-3 France

Emily Scarratt puts away an easy penalty and England are ahead once again.

But that's a mini victory for the French team - England did not manage to cross that whitewash.

Emily Scarratt of England kicks
Getty Images

England 3-3 France

England are centimetres short of the line but eventually they go wide and it's lost forward by Emily Scarratt.

We come back for the offside.

What will England do here? It's the posts.

England 3-3 France

England's bright spell continues.

They're five metres out and the forwards are trying to edge over that try line.

A counter-ruck from the French but England are working hard to keep the ball as they aim for the foot of the posts.

Marlie Packer picks it up but the referee cries "SHORT". Agonisingly close for the women in white.

England 3-3 France

A chip kick from France fly-half Caroline Drouin sees an excellent pick up from England centre Emily Scarratt who gets a great offload away to Kay Wilson.

It looks a certain try but she's hauled into touch by Audrey Forlani and the French survive.

England's best link-up play of the game.

England 3-3 France

England are finding their rhythm now and this is possibly their longest period of possession so far.

They make it to the 12th phase, but Meg Jones can't take the ball in and France set up for the scrum. I spoke too soon.

Danielle Waterman hasn't returned for the second half after her HIA assessment, so Jones is a permanent replacement.

England 3-3 France

England are over the halfway line but now it's the world champions turn to drop the ball.

Katy Mclean looks for the inside pass to Marlie Packer and the ball goes loose.

We start the second 40 where we left the first, with handling errors.

England 3-3 France

Not a stellar start to the half.

Elodie Guiglion knocks on for France from a high kick.

England with a good scrum though off the back and they're running it from their own half.

England 3-3 France

In case you missed the first half... here's our 30-second match report.

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Kick-off

England 3-3 France

France looking to make the final for the first time, England looking to defend their crown.

40 minutes to play, and we're back under way in Belfast.

And it's stopped raining... for the time being anyway.