By Paul Osborne

Ireland pulled off a historic win over New Zealand in the Women's Rugby World Cup ©Isabelle PicarelThe world of women's rugby was left stunned today after Ireland produced one of the biggest shocks in World Cup history with a 17-14 victory over New Zealand.

New Zealand are the four-time defending world champions and had not lost a Women's Rugby World Cup game since a defeat to the United States in the 1991 semi-finals, before the tournament was even sanctioned by the International Rugby Board.

However, a resilient and determined Irish team paid little heed to the history books as they battled from a try down to outscore the Black Ferns by two tries to one, and record a historic 17-14 victory.

"All the credit should go to the coaches, the analysis and the game plan they gave us," said Ireland captain Fiona Coghlan.

"It's absolutely wonderful to win against the world champions and tonight we'll go out and enjoy a beer and tomorrow start getting ready again for Kazakhstan."

Ireland recorded New Zealand's first World Cup defeat in 23 years as they battled from behind to win 17-14 in France ©Isabelle PicarelIreland recorded New Zealand's first World Cup defeat in 23 years as they battled from behind to win 17-14 in France ©Isabelle Picarel

New Zealand's Selica Winiata scored the opening try of the match as she went over in the corner to add to Kelly Brazier's early penalty.

Ireland, the 2013 Six Nations winners, hit back through Heather O'Brien with the gap closed to a single point at the break after Niamh Briggs' conversion.

Alison Miller added a crucial try for Ireland to level the game at 14-14 midway through the second half, while a penalty kick by Briggs 10 minutes from time gave Ireland the all-important three points, and victory.

Philip Doyle's team had beaten the United States in their opening Pool B match and now play Kazakhstan on Saturday with progression to the semi-finals all but secured.

Pool A is set to go down to a mouth-watering tie between England and Canada after the two nations secured comfortable 45-5 and 42-7 victories over Spain and Samoa respectively for their second successive bonus points wins of the tournament.

Pool C is between host nation France and Australia who made it two wins from two with comfortable victories over South Africa and Wales respectively.

France need to avoid defeat against the Wallaroos to progress to the knockout stages as pool winners after picking up bonus points in both games to sit two points clear of Australia atop the group.

The next round of fixtures at the Fédération Française de Rugby headquarters in Marcoussis, Paris, will be played on Saturday (August 9), while the knockout phase gets underway on August 13.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories
August 2014: Defending champions New Zealand off to winning start at Women's Rugby World Cup
October 2013: France face tough test as 2014 Women's Rugby World Cup draw is made
October 2013: Women's Rugby World Cup draw to be streamed live
August 2013: One year to go until IRB Women's Rugby World Cup kicks off in France