- England Women beat New Zealand 17-8 in Aldershot
- Win secure series ahead of Twickenham finale
England Women 17-8 New Zealand Black Ferns
England Women secured an impressive 17-8 win against world champions New Zealand in Aldershot, with tries from flanker Hannah Gallagher and centre Joanne Watmore and seven points from the boot of full back Emily Scarratt.
The victory, England’s second in four days against their southern hemisphere rivals, gives Gary Street’s side an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series ahead of Saturday’s finale at Twickenham Stadium.
England didn’t do it the easy way though and were twice reduced to 14 women, first when try-scorer Gallagher was sent to the sin-bin after 65 minutes and then again in the dying moments when Katy McLean was given her marching orders.
Things started well for the home side and after an early spell of sustained pressure England got points on the board with eight played when Scarratt slotted over a penalty in front of the posts.
New Zealand hit back five minutes later with the game’s opening try – smart play from the Kiwi backs freed up wing Shakira Baker to dive over in the corner to make it 5-3 with 14 on the clock.
Despite the setback, England lost none of their attacking nous and continued to put pressure on the Black Ferns.
The breakthrough eventually came after 20 minutes when fly half Alice Richardson superbly weaved between three defenders before offloading to Gallagher to score. Scarratt added the extras to give England a five point cushion which they held until half time.
Scrum half Natasha Hunt was a constant thorn in New Zealand’s side and continued to cause problems into the second period but it was the visitors who got the first points of the half. Centre Kelly Brazier kicked over a deserved penalty to reduce the deficit to two.
With New Zealand pressing, a 50-meter break from wing Michaela Staniford almost brought about the home side’s second try, but good defence from New Zealand kept England at bay.
As Street began to ring the changes, Scarratt had the chance to extend the lead back out to five, but her kick sailed just wide of the posts. Then with Gallagher in the sin-bin, England found a second wind and Watmore showed a good burst of pace to run through and touch down. Scarratt’s conversion gave England a nine-point lead which New Zealand couldn’t dent.
Speaking after his side's win, Street said: "Obviously I'm delighted that we've managed to wrap up the series after the second game. We have used the word 'trust' a lot with the players this week and they showed that in everything they did today. We made the improvements that we needed to make from Friday's game, from our physicality to our ball carrying."
He added: "I'm so pleased with our less experienced players in the second row and back row who underlined that they are world class players in the making. Next up is Twickenham on Saturday which is still going to be a huge game. Playing there is a special moment for any player and there's no doubt that the squad will want to finish the series as champions in front of the Twickenham crowd."
England: Gallagher 1T, Watmore 1T; Scarratt 2C, 1P.
New Zealand: Baker 1T; Brazier 1P.
England Women starting XV
15 Emily Scarratt (Lichfield)
14 Francesca Matthews (Richmond)
13 Joanne Watmore (Worcester)
12 Amber Reed (Bristol)
11 Michaela Staniford (Wasps)
10 Alice Richardson (Richmond) (VC)
9 Natasha Hunt (Lichfield)
1 Rosemarie Crowley (Lichfield)
2 Emma Croker (Richmond)
3 Sophie Hemming (Bristol)
4 Tamara Taylor (Lichfield)
5 Emily Braund (Lichfield)
6 Alexandra Matthews (Richmond)
7 Hannah Gallagher (Saracens)
8 Sarah Hunter (C) (Lichfield)
16 Victoria Fleetwood (Lichfield) on for Emma Croker 56 mins
17 Rochelle Clark (Worcester) on for Sophie Hemming 52 mins
18 Laura Keates (Worcester) on for Rosemarie Crowley 52 mins
19 Rowena Burnfield (Richmond) on for Tamara Taylor 52 mins
20 Marlie Packer (Bristol) on for Sarah Hunter 56 mins
21 La Toya Mason (Wasps) on for Natasha Hunt 78 mins
22 Ceri Large (Bristol) on for Amber Reed 60 mins
23 Katy McLean (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks) on for Alice Richardson 60 mins
New Zealand Black Ferns starting XV
(Caps in brackets)
15 Selica Winatia (2)
14 Hazel Tubic (4)
13 Claire Richardson (15)
12 Kelly Brazier (11)
11 Shakira Baker (4)
10 Kendra Cocksedge (12)
9 Emma Jensen (32)
1 Karina Stowers (13)
2 Fiao'o Faamausili (c) (22)
3 Kat Wilton (6)
4 Eloise Blackwell (4)
5 Rawinia Everitt (3)
6 Aroha Savage (5)
7 Justine Lavea (18)
8 Casey Robertson (25)
16 Ruth McKay (11)
17 Steph TeOhaere-fox (11)
18 Aleisha Nelson (1)
19 Jackie Patea (1)
20 Lydia Crossman (3)
21 Zoey Berry (0)
22 Teresa Te Tamaki (5)
23 Halie Hurring (11)
England Women Autumn International Series
- Nov 3, 2012 - England 23 France 13 - Esher RFC
- Nov 23, 2012 - England 16 New Zealand 13 - Esher RFC
- Nov 27, 2012 - England v New Zealand - Aldershot Army Rugby Stadium - KO 730pm. (Live on www.rfu.com/englandwomenlive)
- Dec 1, 2012 - England v New Zealand - Twickenham Stadium - KO 5pm (Live on Sky Sports 1HD)
Tickets for England’s Autumn International Series are available through www.ticketmaster.co.uk, priced at £10 for adults and £5 for Under 16s. This excludes the England v New Zealand game at Twickenham on December 1st as there is free entry to the stadium following the conclusion of the men’s match.