Injury time try denies England Women victory over the Black Ferns
An injury time try for New Zealand’s Selica Winiata handed the World Champions a 14-9 victory and the Series win against England Women at Waikato Stadium on Tuesday evening.
In another thrilling clash between the world’s top two teams England had looked on course to seal the win and take the Series into the third and final game on Saturday at Pukehohe Stadium when Katy McLean struck a 77th minute penalty.
It wasn’t to be however as in true Black Ferns style the four times World Champions hit back once again. As England were unable to kick the ball out of play, the Black Ferns turned the ball over and centre Amiria Rule was instrumental in getting the ball out to the dangerous duo of Winiata and Portia Woodman on the wing. They combined brilliantly to leave England trailing to score in the 82nd minute.
England Head Coach Gary Street, who’ll be hoping to claw back a victory on Saturday in the final Test, said: “We played really well in the first half and were really on top but fair play to the Black Ferns who came back and got stuck into us. Any game between England and New Zealand is always going to be a hell of a battle and tonight was no different. It was a fantastic advert for women’s rugby.
“At the end of the day this result could have gone either way, and unfortunately it wasn’t our way tonight. It is tough to take and we’ll look at this and look to come back even stronger for the final Test because we don’t want to go home without a win.”
England were the dominant team in the first half and despite a nervous start by both teams it was England who started to dominate the territory.
Fly-half Mclean struck a ten minute penalty to hand England a 3-0 lead and the home side continued to have the upper hand in terms of possession as well as territory. Bristol flanker Marlie Packer was in fine form once again but she kept hitting a wall of Black Ferns which kept her at bay whilst club and country teammate Kay Wilson was solid at fullback and kept making some dangerous runs.
England, however, did not help themselves at times and struggled to look after the ball whilst influential lock Joanne McGilchrist was sin-binned for a dangerous tackle. To England’s relief the Black Ferns couldn’t make the most of their one man advantage for that ten minute window and instead England held on to their 3-0 lead.
A 31st minute penalty, converted by Mclean, nudged England into a 6-0 lead at half-time but it was New Zealand who then came out the stronger side after the restart.
The tables were well and truly turned on England as the Black Ferns started to dominate the territory and possession this time. The difference was however that New Zealand created chances and in the end a score came their way.
Winiata had gone close for the home side but a well-executed Fran Matthews try saving tackle, which saw the wing bounce off the posts, kept Winiata out but in the end, after three New Zealand scrums 10 metres out from England’s try-line, the Black Ferns finally broke the deadlock with Woodman scoring out on the right wing. Fly-half Kelly Brazier, a constant thorn in England’s side during the game, kicked the conversion to take a 7-6 lead with 63 minutes gone.
New Zealand’s tails were well and truly up now and they continued to boss the game with Casey Robinson, Winiata and Woodman executing several waves of attack.
England were, however, given a life-line when the Black Ferns were penalised right in front of their posts and Mclean struck a 77th minute penalty taking back the lead and making the score 9-7.
It wasn’t to be though as England scrambled to get the ball out of play, the visitors were turned over and centre Amiria Rule got the ball out to the deadly Woodman and Winiata who left England in their wake to score in injury time.
15 Kay Wilson (Bristol), 14 Francesca Matthews (Richmond), 13 Emily Scarratt (Lichfield), 12 Rachael Burford (Thurrock), 11 Michaela Staniford (Wasps), 10 Katy Mclean (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), 9 Natasha Hunt (Lichfield), 1 Laura Keates (Worcester), 2 Victoria Fleetwood (Lichfield), 3 Sophie Hemming (Bristol), 4 Joanne McGilchrist (Wasps), 5 Emily Braund (Lichfield), 6 Sarah Hunter (Lichfield), 7 Marlie Packer (Bristol), 8 Harriet Millar-Mills (Lichfield). Replacements: 16 Emma Croker (Richmond), 17 Kate Newton (Bristol), 18 Rochelle Clark (Worcester), 19 Tamara Taylor (Lichfield), 20 Alexandra Matthews (Richmond), 21 La Toya Mason (Wasps), 22 Ceri Large (Worcester), 23 Sally Tuson (Bristol).
Penalties: Mclean (3)
Substitutions: Mason for Hunt, A Matthews for Hunter (all 59 mins), Croker for Fleetwood, Clark for Hemming, Tuson for Wilson (all 61mins), Taylor for McGilchrist (65mins).
15.Selica Winiata, 14 Portia Woodman 13. Claire Richardson, 12. Amiria Rule, 11. Renee Wickliffe, 10. Kelly Brazier, 9. Emma Jensen, 1. Ruth McKay, 2. Fiao’o Faamausili (C), 3. Melodie Bosman, 4. Jackie Patea, 5. Vita Dryden, 6. Rawinia Everitt, 7. Justine Lavea, 8. Casey Robertson. Replacements: 16. Karina Stowers, 17. Kathleen Wilton, 18. Stephanie Te Ohaere – Fox, 19. Eloise Blackwell, 20. Charmaine McMenamin, 21. Kendra Cocksedge, 22. Portia Woodman, 23. Melodie Hufanga.
Tries: Woodman, Winiata,
Conversions: Brazier (2)
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