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England outmuscle Black Ferns, win 29-21

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 17/06/2017 Angelo Risso

England have secured the international women's rugby series on Kiwi soil with a clinical 29-21 victory over the Black Ferns.

In what was a series decider between two hitherto unbeaten teams, the English had too much power for their opponents and dominated the set-piece.

They scored five tries to three in Rotorua, propelling themselves towards the Women's Rugby World Cup in August with spirits high.

New Zealand, meanwhile, will lick their wounds after the defeat but maintained their chances at the World Cup remained positive.

"I thought the English team had a really good kicking game, and their drives and mauls were exceptional, so they got a lot of purchase off that," Black Ferns boss Glenn Moore, who suffered his first defeat as coach, told reporters.

"We expected it, did the training for it but just didn't execute.

"We always expected this series here to be hard graft and it's pretty difficult when you've got four-day turnarounds, but having said that, that's what we're going to experience when we're away - so it's a good lead-in to that."

The Red Roses opened the scoring early, with centre Emily Scarratt capitalising on a line-break from Lydia Thompson to go over in the fourth minute.

But the Black Ferns didn't take long to bounce back - and did so in style, with halfback Kendra Cocksedge nailing an inch-perfect chip and chase to score.

Speedy winger Portia Woodman then nabbed an intercept and streaked the length of the field to put her side in front, before English lock Abbie Scott sent the sides into the half-time break at parity with a late five-pointer.

At 14-14, the game was evenly poised heading into the second stanza, until a pair of tries within 15 minutes gave the Red Roses the upper hand.

The ever-impressive Thompson scored down the right edge to wrest back the lead, before openside Marlie Packie secured another from a drive.

Shaken, the Black Ferns simply couldn't earn enough second-half territory to recover their position, and became bogged down at the set-piece.

And eventually, England made them pay - with Vicki Fleetwood going over from another lineout drive in the 68th minute, rendering Victoria Subritsky-Nafatali's late Black Ferns try no more than a consolation.

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