August 26, 2017
Strong Second Half by New Zealand Defeats England in #WRWC2017 Final
Photo: INPHO/Billy Stickland (New Zealand prop Toka Natua reached out to score a try on the stroke of half-time)
The Red Roses met New Zealand for the Women’s Rugby World Cup final against New Zealand on Saturday at Kingspan Stadium in Belfast.
England tested the Black Ferns early, however when New Zealand received the ball, Victoria Subritzky-Nafatali cross kicked with the ball bouncing beyond Emily Scarratt and Selecia Winiata picking it up for a try in the corner and a 5-0 lead. Scarratt, who is playing fullback with Danielle Waterman ruled out with concussion, was slow in returning to action.
Scarratt shook off the knock and after a penalty by the Black Ferns, slotted a penalty kick to narrow the lead to 5-3. That was the fourth penalty of the match by New Zealand and England has had two thirds of the possession.
In a key decision by referee Joy Neville after a TMO, Black Ferns Sarah Goss was sent to the bin for a dangerous tackle in lifting Katy McLean above horizontal in the 20th minute.
England appears to have taken advantage of the yellow card, however Alex Matthews was ruled to have been held up after viewing the TMO. England’s pack still has a 5 meter scrum, with New Zealand missing a player in the forwards. As England moved forward with 8 player shove, the Black Ferns interfered and a penalty try was called as England took a 10-5 lead.
The match continues to be a close one, as Sarah Goss returned from the bin. That did not stop England, who moved the ball quickly wide and Lydia Thompson finished with a try in the corner (32′) and Scarratt converted from touch for a 17-5 lead.
New Zealand’s Portia Woodman touched the ball for the first time in the 36th minute. With the Black Ferns on the attack, Toka Natua reached out and ground the ball to cut the lead to 17-10 and Cocksedge missed the conversion again.
New Zealand gathered the restart for a last minute attack, but no additional points were scored prior to the break.
The Black Ferns have had only a third of the possession, yet are down only by a converted try at halftime. It has been a thrilling half with England controlling the match tempo.
The first scoring opportunity in the second half went to the Black Ferns from a lineout 10 meters out with Toka Natua powering her way in for her second try around the fringes of the breakdown. Cocksedge then converted to level the match at 17 all.
After a penalty by New Zealand, Emily Scarratt bounced the ball off the posts and in for a 20-17 lead.
New Zealand claimed the restart and after a sustained attack, Charmaine Smith scored under the posts and Cocksedge converted as the Black Ferns took their first lead of the match, 24-20.
New Zealand kicked to Lydia Thompson and it was a foot race with Thompson outpacing Portia Woodman for her second try. Scarratt conversion was wide left, but England reclaimed the lead 25-24. With 23 minutes remaining, England used this break to replace their entire front row for fresh legs.
On the restart, New Zealand attacked right back and Natua went in for her hat trick try. Cocksedge then slotted the conversion for a 31-25 lead.
New Zealand has dominated the second half possession and attacked from the restart. After a sustained attack, Kendra Cocksedge extended the lead to 36-25 with a try around the fringes.
With Selica Winiata receiving a kick pass, she seemingly sealed the win with her second try to increase the lead to 41-25.
With three minutes remaining, Leslie Ketu was sent to the bin for breakdown infractions. England’s Izzy Noel-Smith went in for a try and Scarratt converted to narrow the lead to 41-32.
It was an exciting final with England dominating the first half and New Zealand the all important second, for a 41-32 victory.
With the Black Ferns win, Toka Natua was named Player of the Match after scoring three tries.
New Zealand have won all five of the finals in which they appeared and avenged a 29-21 defeat by England in New Zealand in June. England has appeared in every World Cup final, with two wins.
New Zealand Black Ferns: 1. Toka Natua 2. Fiao’o Faamausili (C) 3. Aldora Itunu 4. Eloise Blackwell 5. Charmaine Smith 6. Charmaine McMenamin 7. Sarah Goss 8. Aroha Savage 9. Kendra Cocksedge 10. Victoria Subritzky-Nafatali 11. Renee Wickliffe 12. Kelly Brazier 13. Stacey Waaka 14. Portia Woodman 15. Selica Winiata 16. Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate 17. Sosoli Talawadua 18. Aleisha Nelson 19. Rebecca Wood 20. Lesley Ketu 21. Kristina Sue 22. Theresa Fitzpatrick 23. Carla Hohepha
England Women v New Zealand: 1. Vickii Cornborough 2. Amy Cokayne 3. Sarah Bern 4. Abbie Scott 5.Tamara Taylor 6. Alex Matthews 7. Marlie Packer 8. Sarah Hunter (C) 9. Natasha Hunt 10. Katy Mclean 11. Kay Wilson 12. Rachael Burford 13.Megan Jones 14. Lydia Thompson 15. Emily Scarratt 16. Vicky Fleetwood 17. Rochelle Clark 18. Justine Lucas 19. Harriet Millar-Mills 20. Izzy Noel-Smith 21. La Toya Mason 22. Amber Reed 23. Amy Wilson Hardy