WHANGAREI: Winger Portia Woodman became the most prolific try-scorer in women’s Rugby World Cup history as New Zealand crushed Wales 55-3 in their quarter-final on Saturday. The tournament hosts will play France in a high-powered semi-final next week after the French outclassed Italy 39-3 in the day’s earlier match in Whangarei. France’s five-try performance was also led by their right winger, with Joanna Grisez snaring a hat-trick. Woodman’s double for the Black Ferns took her to 20 World Cup tries, the most by any player and achieved in just eight games. It surpasses the 19 tries scored by England outside back Sue Day, who achieved her tally in 13 matches, from 1998 to 2006. Woodman played down her milestone, pushing praise onto team-mates and New Zealand’s attack-first style, which carried them to three big wins in group play, including a 56-12 dismantling of Wales. “If they didn’t do the work they did, I wouldn’t be able to get those tries but (the record) is pretty cool, I guess,” Woodman said. “At the start of the game, we wanted our forward to ‘mongrel up’ and bring that physicality from the get-go. “And, in the backs, we just let the ball fly. It was really awesome.” The five-time champions took command from the outset, using their high-speed, expansive style to create nine tries, including a brace to hooker Luka Connor. Fly-half Ruahei Demant scored the final try in a 15-point haul which included five conversions. Wales missed 50 tackles and their defence was further stretched when Carys Williams-Morris and Lleucu George were both shown second-half yellow cards. New Zealand will face their first stiff test of the tournament against France, who beat them heavily twice during a tour of Europe last November. The French dominated most of their quarter-final but it took until the final quarter to cut loose against Italy, scoring four of their five tries after leading 10-3 at halftime. Grisez scored the only try of the first half but grabbed two more during the late rush, while replacement hooker Laure Touye also crossed. Inside centre Gabrielle Vernier said it was France’s best performance at the tournament, eclipsing their tight 13-7 pool loss to tournament favourites England. “It’s been a tough few weeks and today we proved that we are one of the best teams here,” Vernier said. “A lot of us haven’t played at a World Cup so it’s new for us. It’s a dream come true.” It is the eighth time France have reached the semi-finals in nine editions of the tournament, but they have never qualified for the final. Italy, making their maiden appearance in the knockout phase, barely got into France’s half after the interval, not helped by yellow cards shown to Maria Magatti and Silvia Turani. It capped a forgettable week for the Italians, whose lock Sara Tounesi was suspended for 12 weeks after the tournament judiciary found her guilty of biting a Japanese opponent during last week’s final group match. They struggled to dent a French defensive line which conceded the least points of any team in the group phase, leaking just two tries. Sunday’s quarter-finals pit England against Australia and Canada against the United States.