Black Ferns beat England to make Rugby World Cup history
With their victory over England at Eden Park, New Zealand made history by becoming the first host nation to ever win a women’s Rugby World Cup.
When New Zealand defeated England 34-31 at a packed Eden Park, they became the first host nation to win a women’s Rugby World Cup.
After Lydia Thompson was sent off in Auckland for a head-on collision with Portia Woodman, England played the last 63 minutes of the game with just 14 players.
At that point, the Red Roses were up 14-0 and maintained their lead until the 72nd minute, when Ayesha Leti-I’iga scored her second try of the game to give the Red Roses the victory.
The Black Ferns’ victory gave them their sixth Rugby World Cup championship and made it five times in a row that they had defeated England.
Lucy Packer was brought in to start at scrum-half when Leanne Infante failed a last-minute fitness test due to an ankle and knee problem.
Ellie Kildunne completed a team play to score in the right corner for the Red Roses in the third minute, although it didn’t seem to matter much in the early exchanges.
As Renee Holmes’ kick sailed wide, the hosts wasted a chance to score, and England quickly increased their lead to two scored tries.
The Red Roses forward pack had to be patient with their lineout drive in the 13th minute, but the Black Ferns could only slow it rather than halt it, and Amy Cokayne eventually scored her first try of the championship game.
England led 14-0 thanks to Emily Scarratt‘s conversion, but their chances of winning were dashed a few minutes later when Thompson was dismissed for a collision that left Portia Woodman hurt and required medical attention.
Response to England’s penalty kick to the corner
The Black Ferns drove the next lineout over the goal line with Georgia Ponsonby coming up with the ball.
The Red Roses and Marlie Packer were able to drive over for their third touchdown of the game after Holmes added the conversion but Maiakawanakaulani Roos mishandled the restart into touch.
A error by Abbie Ward after the restart allowed New Zealand a lineout because the match had turned into an end-to-end contest. Although the home team’s effort was stalled, Leti-I’iga was able to score after the ball was transferred to the left flank.
With less than 10 minutes of the half remaining, the Black Ferns full-back thought she had run the entire pitch to score after an interception. Holmes converted once more to cut the margin to five points.
But because referee Hollie Davidson had the advantage, Cokayne scored her second try of the game from the lineout.
On the verge of the break, New Zealand did cross the try line a third time thanks to a driving maul touchdown by Amy Rule, bringing the score to 26-19.
Stacey Fluhler made a brilliant break right after the restart, then exchanged passes with Holmes before scoring to give the hosts a 1-0 lead in the second half.
It took the Black Ferns less than seven minutes to score another try after Holmes’ missed conversion attempt to tie the game. Replacement prop Krystal Murray scored in the left corner.
When Cokayne crossed the line for her hat-trick try in the 54th minute, England restored the lead after another missed conversion.
Following that, at least according to the scoreboard, the match’s pace dropped a little bit until Black Ferns co-captain Kennedy Simon was given a warning.
The 72nd minute, though, saw Leti-I’iga score after a fantastic offload from Fluhler, putting an end to any notions that might have favored England. The hosts held on to win, fending off a late Red Roses lineout to reclaim possession and triumph in the scrum that announced the end of the match.
The extraordinary 30-test winning streak by England, which began with a loss to the Black Ferns in July 2019, was interrupted by New Zealand’s sixth victory in six Rugby World Cup finals.
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