New Zealand beat England in thrilling Women’s Rugby World Cup final
A hat-trick from Toka Natua has led New Zealand to victory in the Women’s Rugby World Cup.
The Black Ferns defeated the 2011 champions 41-32 in an excellent encounter in Belfast.
Selica Winiata opened the floodgates in the fifth minute when she went over in the corner before England pulled three points back off the boot of Emily Scarratt.
England were then denied a try by the TMO after the ball was held up.
The Red Roses took the lead in the 24th minute thanks to a penalty try. A New Zealand scrum broke too early, a repeat offence, and referee Joy Neville signalled for the try.
Lydia Thompson extended England’s lead to 12 points on the half-hour mark, when she found space on the wing.
Notua scored her first try of the night just before half time, diving in from close range.
The score was levelled just after the restart, and it was Natua once again. The prop found a gap in the England defence and the successful conversion made it 17-17.
Scarratt then regained England’s lead when her penalty kick hit the inside of the post before dropping over.
Charmaine Smith’s try saw New Zealand then regain the lead after a good passing move but the lead was to change hands once again in the 55th minute.
Thompson broke through the New Zealand defence 45 metres out to give here team a one-point lead.
New Zealand did pull away though and Natua completed her hat-trick in controversial circumstances. A trip to the TMO after a possible fumble – the video evidence seemed inconclusive but the TMO said there was no knock on.
That lead was extended in the 63rd minute when scrum-half Kendra Cocksedge went over from a yard out and Winiata made it 41-25 when she crossed after a cross-field kick.
Izzy Noel-Smith added a consolation try late on but it was to be New Zealand’s night after a stunning victory.