Women’s Rugby World Cup final: New Zealand defeat England in record-breaking game


Finals can often be dull affairs, hampered by the weight of the occasion and the all-encompassing pressure that comes with them.

But sometimes, as in the Women’s Rugby World Cup when New Zealand beat England 34-31 in Auckland to become the first host nation to win the tournament, the occasion can elevate the final to historic competition.

It had it all: countless tries, a red card, a stunning comeback, a hat-trick, and a world-record crowd for a women’s rugby game packed Eden Park.

“I can’t even put it into words. All I can say is thank you and I’m very proud of our team,” New Zealand captain Ruhei Dimond said afterwards, according to The Guardian.

“It’s overwhelming. We’re not used to this many fans. We hope we’ve made our country proud. We hope we’ve inspired the next generation.

Responding to New Zealand’s war cry of the haka before the game, England took a 14-0 lead within minutes thanks to tries from Ellie Gildunne and Amy Cockayne.

But the game turned upside down three minutes in when England winger Lydia Thompson was red-carded for a head-on collision with New Zealand’s Portia Woodman.

New Zealand's Sarah Hirini (C) is tackled by England's Sadia Gabea (R) and Sarah Byrne.

Now a player down, the Red Roses conceded a try from a penalty as Georgia Ponsobi drove from the New Zealand lineout after touching down.

A free-scoring start to the match continued with tries from Ayesha Letty-Ikea and Amy Rule for New Zealand, before Cockayne scored the second for England.

As defenses tired in the second half, gaps began to open up and Stacey Fluehler’s brilliant, flowing try, combined with Crystal Murray’s score, gave the Black Ferns their first lead on 50 minutes with her first ball. .

Five minutes later, Cocain completed his hat-trick and set up a grandstand final with the score 29–31 to England.

But with just nine minutes to play, New Zealand regained the lead as Flühler collected a chip and passed it to Leti-Iga to put her team ahead by three points.

England had one last chance to close a three-point deficit as the clock turned red, but its lineout, the most impressive of all competitions, crashed at the worst moment five meters from the New Zealand tryline, conceding possession and the contest.

It marked the Red Roses’ second consecutive World Cup final defeat to New Zealand and they were left to console each other on the pitch as Eden Park fell apart around them.

“I thought the girls left it all there. Sixty minutes with their backs against the wall, keep fighting and have a shot to win at the end,” England captain Sarah Hunter said afterwards, according to Reuters.

“You couldn’t ask for more from the girls, it’s a really great group and we can be proud of what we’ve done for the women’s game.

“It will hurt, especially because we didn’t want to lose the World Cup final the way we did, but I’m very proud of what we did.”


Also Read :  Inside the US scramble to run down the facts as the Russia-Ukraine war spills into NATO territory

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.