New Zealand beat England in women's World Cup final
England 10 Tries: Barras Cons: McLean Pens: McLean New Zealand 13 Tries: Hohepa Pens: Brazier 2 Cons: Brazier
By Tom Fordyce
BBC Sport at The Stoop
New Zealand's women broke English hearts as they retained their World Cup crown in a nail-biting and hard-fought contest.
The Black Ferns, victorious over England in the finals of both 2002 and 2006, were reduced to 13 players in the first half after two yellow cards, but led 7-0 after a side-stepping try from winger Carla Hohepa.
When they then lost skipper Melissa Ruscoe to the sin bin early in the second half a fine Charlotte Barras try allowed England to fight back to 10-10.
But the home side were second best at the breakdown throughout and centre Kelly Brazier sealed New Zealand's hat-trick over the Red Roses and their fourth World Cup of all with her second successful penalty 16 minutes from the end.
Hopes had been high that England, fresh from defeating Australia in the semi-finals, could upset the odds and secure their first World Cup since 1994.
Four years ago in Edmonton, Canada, they had lost an agonisingly tight contest 25-17, but a fierce 10-3 win at Twickenham last November ended a losing streak against the Black Ferns stretching back eight years and gave England head coach Gary Street fresh optimism.
In a bruising opening the home side were immediately under pressure following a knock-on, and only ferocious defence kept the visitors scoreless in the opening quarter despite them camping out in the English half.
Two kickable missed penalties let England off the hook but it took until the 20th minute for the underdogs to make their first serious inroads in the opposition half.
Fly-half Anna Richards was then sin-binned by referee Sarah Corrigan for persistent infringement and England took advantage of the extra player to enjoy a sustained period of pressure.
When prop Mel Bosman joined her team-mate in the sin-bin in the 28th minute England had a wonderful chance to open a big lead, but let the initiative slip away and paid the price when Hohepa jinxed through the England defence to touch down in the right corner.
Brazier added the conversion to make it 7-0, although Katy McLean missed the chance to reduce the deficit with a brace of missed penalties before half-time.
Better rucking from the forwards forced a penalty early in the second half that McLean converted to make it 7-3.
Hohepa then took advantage of poor support play from England to break away down the right wing, and it took a wonderful tackle from second row Joanna McGilchrist to halt the winger in the corner.
Before the final England had only conceded two tries during the tournament, both against the USA, and that parsimonious defence was stretched to its limits as the Black Ferns laid siege to the try-line.
Brazier added another three points after another period of sustained pressure, only for skipper Ruscoe to be the next player to be sent to the bin with 22 minutes left on the clock.
At last England made the opposition pay for their indiscipline. Fine scrummaging took them to within inches of the New Zealand line, and when the ball was spread wide Barras powered over to give her side fresh hope at 8-10.
McLean calmly slotted the conversion to draw England level, but parity was short-lived.
England infringed again at the breakdown and Brazier was on hand to drill the penalty between the posts to make it 10-13 with 14 minutes to go.
The favourites then controlled the game as England's forays became increasingly frenetic, and despite a desperate last five minutes the holders held on comfortably for a deserved win.
Earlier in the day, Australia sealed third place in the competition with a 22-8 victory over France.
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