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New Zealand stun England to win RWC

A late try from winger Ayesha Leti-l’iga has given hosts New Zealand a 34-31 win over favourites England to clinch the Rugby World Cup at a packed Eden Park.

November 12, 2022
12 November 2022

New Zealand’s women have claimed a sixth Rugby World Cup with a thrilling 34-31 victory over favourites England. 

Winger Ayesha Leti-l’iga scored a try nine minutes from time to give the Black Ferns the win in front of a packed Eden Park in Auckland. 

England battled through more than two-thirds of the match with 14 players after Lydia Thompson was sent-off for a reckless tackle. 

But the Red Roses still looked on course for a 31st successive victory, protecting a two-point lead going into the last 10 minutes.

But centre Stacey Fluhler chased a chip through and offloaded in the tackle to Leti-l’iga, who put the hosts in front for only the second time and New Zealand held on to stun the tournament favourites.

The victory brought an end to three years of utter dominance of women’s rugby by England as well as their record winning streak, which included two thrashings of New Zealand at the end of last year.

“I’m so proud of our team,” New Zealand co-captain and player of the match Ruahei Demant said. 

“We sacrificed so much to get the one chance to win a World Cup at home and we did it.”

A hat-trick from hooker Amy Cokayne off the rolling maul and tries from flanker Marlie Packer and fullback Ellie Kildunne had kept England ahead for all but 15 of the 80 minutes.

“Sport can be cruel at times,” England captain Sarah Hunter said. 

“I’m just so proud of the way this team have shown up, not just tonight but over the last three years. I hope that one result doesn’t define the team.

“We gave everything tonight and unfortunately it wasn’t enough to take the trophy home.”

Earlier, France ran in five tries to thrash Canada 36-0 in the third-place play-off to secure the bronze medal for the seventh time in nine editions of the tournament.

Winger Marine Menager scored two tries and lock Madoussou Fall, outstanding halfback Pauline Bourdon and prop Annaelle Deshaye also crossed as France ruthlessly took apart the 2014 runners-up.

Denied a place in their first final after Caroline Drouin missed a late penalty against New Zealand last week, France kept the Canadians shackled with brutal defence even when Gabrielle Vernier was sent to the sin bin in the second half.

“We are so happy about this medal,” Vernier said.

“It was a very difficult week after last week and we put our hearts on the field, we put everything out there.”

Canada were the only one of the semi-finalists without full professional contracts and can take pride from taking world No.1 England close in last week’s semi-final.

“We weren’t good enough today, credit to France,” Canada captain Sophie De Goede said.

“We came here to win a World Cup and we fell short of that so we’re disappointed, but hopefully it’ll be a good building block for the future.”

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