- Winiata scores late try to steal victory from England
- Score also hands Black Ferns series
Photo: Getty Images
An injury-time try for New Zealand’s Selica Winiata handed the world champions a 14-9 victory and the series win over England Women at Waikato Stadium on Tuesday evening.
In another thrilling clash between the world’s top two teams, England 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-time World Cup-winners hit back. As England were unable to kick the ball out of play, Black Ferns centre Amiria Rule delivered the ball out to the dangerous duo of Winiata and Portia Woodman on the wing. They combined brilliantly to produce the score in the 82nd minute.
England Head Coach Gary Street, who’ll be hoping to take something from the final Test on Saturday, said: “We played really well in the first half and were really on top but fair play to the Black Ferns.
“They 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.
Photo: Getty Images
“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 better team in the first half and, despite a nervous start by both teams, it was the tourists who started to dominate the territory.
Fly half Mclean struck a penalty to hand England a 3-0 lead on 10 minutes 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 defenders, which kept her at bay. Meanwhile, Packer's clubmate Kay Wilson was solid at fullback and made some dangerous runs.
However, England did not help themselves at times and struggled to look after the ball, while influential lock Joanne McGilchrist was sin-binned for a dangerous tackle. To England’s relief, the Black Ferns could not make the most of their one-player advantage for that ten-minute window and England held on to their 3-0 lead.
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A penalty on the half-hour mark, 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 re-start.
The tables were well and truly turned on England as the Black Ferns started to enjoy the best of territory and possession. The difference was that New Zealand created chances and, in the end, a score came their way.
Winiata had gone close for the home side – stopped only by when Fran Matthews produced a try-saving tackle – but after three scrum ten metres out, the Black Ferns finally broke the deadlock as Woodman scores 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.
But England were then 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 pair of Woodman and Winiata, who left England in their wake.
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, captain), 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)
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 (captain), 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)
England v New Zealand Series:
New Zealand 29 England 10, Saturday July 13, Eden Park
New Zealand 14 England 9, Tuesday July 16, Waikato Stadium
New Zealand v England, Saturday July 20 (kick-off 335am BST) ECOLight Stadium