England Women defeat New Zealand to win Test series

 

ENGLAND (10) 17

  • Tries: Gallagher, Watmore
  • Cons: Scarratt 2
  • Pen: Scarratt

NEW ZEALAND (5) 8

  • Try: Baker
  • Pen: Brazier

England Women clinched their three-Test series against New Zealand with a game to spare after beating the world champions 17-8 at Aldershot on Tuesday.

Analysis

Wrapping up another Test series against the world champions with a game to spare is nothing less than the England Women deserve.

The second Test was another bruising encounter between the two best sides on the planet.

A crowd of 1,250 watched on as the fledgling Test career of Worcester centre Joanne Watmore was further accelerated with a slick performance that finished with a flourish - her second England try on only her third outing in the white jersey.

New Zealand will curse basic errors and the little change they got from long periods in opposition territory. Brian Evans' Black Ferns were in the same position this time in 2011 and fought back to draw the third Test, and they'll be looking to restore some pride before flying home on Sunday.

But the last fixture of this series is at Twickenham, a happy hunting ground for England, who will look to finish the job against the side that has been their greatest rival for so long.

Flanker Hannah Gallagher and centre Joanne Watmore scored tries, while Emily Scarratt kicked seven points.

England were twice reduced to 14 women, with Gallagher sin-binned after 65 minutes and captain Katy McLaren also yellow-carded late on.

The third and final Test of the series is at Twickenham on Saturday.

England, who came from behind to win the first Test against the Black Ferns 16-13 on Friday, went ahead after eight minutes when Scarratt landed a penalty from in front of the posts.

New Zealand responded with the game's first try five minutes later, Shakira Baker diving over in the corner.

However, England built a five-point cushion at half-time as fly-half Alice Richardson got the better of three defenders before off-loading to Gallagher to score, with Scarratt adding the extras.

The deficit was reduced to two points in the second half when centre Kelly Brazier kicked a penalty for New Zealand, before England lost Gallagher to the sin-bin.

However, England sealed victory when Watmore burst through and touched down before Scarratt landed the conversion.

England Women v NZ series

23 Nov: England 16-13 New Zealand

27 Nov: England 17-8 New Zealand

Third Test, 1 Dec: Twickenham, 17:00 KO

Head coach Gary Street, who had made 11 changes for the Test, two positional, told BBC Sport: "It's absolutely brilliant. We talked all week to the players about trust, about trusting decisions of who's going to start, trusting themselves. I had no doubt the players were going to pull it off.

"The heart and desire, the way they work for each other, as a coach, it's just something you always dream of. A bunch of players who are going to put their bodies on the line."

On Saturday's final Test at Twickenham, Street added: "There'll be a whole raft of changes again, don't worry about that.

"That's our way, that's our style. We'll recover. We'll see who's fittest. Then we'll give it a go at Twickenham."

England team: Emily Scarratt (Lichfield), Francesca Matthews (Richmond), Joanne Watmore (Worcester), Amber Reed (Bristol), Michaela Staniford (Wasps); Alice Richardson (Richmond); Natasha Hunt (Lichfield); Rosemarie Crowley (Lichfield), Emma Croker (Richmond), Sophie Hemming (Bristol), Tamara Taylor (Lichfield), Emily Braund (Lichfield), Alexandra Matthews (Richmond), Hannah Gallagher (Saracens), Sarah Hunter (capt - Lichfield).

Replacements: Victoria Fleetwood (Lichfield), Rochelle Clark (Worcester), Laura Keates (Worcester), Rowena Burnfield (Richmond), Marlie Packer (Bristol), La Toya Mason (Wasps), Ceri Large (Bristol), Katy McLean (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks),

New Zealand: Selica Winiata, Hazel Tubic, Claire Richardson, Kelly Brazier, Shakira Baker, Kendra Cocksedge, Emma Jensen; Karina Stowers, Fiao'o Faamausili (capt), Kathleen Wilton, Eloise Blackwell, Rawinia Everitt, Aroha Savage, Justine Lavea, Casey Robertson.

Replacements: Ruth McKay, Stephanie TeOhaere-Fox, Aleisha Nelson, Jackie Patea, Lydia Crossman, Zoey Berry, Teresa Te Tamaki, Halie Hurring.