With little more than a year to go until Women’s Rugby World Cup 2014, defending champions New Zealand have signalled their intention to claim a fifth successive title with a series whitewash of England after a 29-8 victory in Pukekohe.
The Black Ferns had already claimed the series win but were intent on handing England the 3-0 whitewash, something they had been on the receiving end of in December in the second of the three annual series between the world’s top two nations.
England enjoyed the superior scrum but it was the Black Ferns who found the full-game performance they had been searching for with the visitors unable to live with their impressive backline.
Claire Richardson, Aroha Savage, Selicia Winiata and Kendra Cocksedge crossed for New Zealand’s tries with England’s only reply at ECOLight Stadium coming from Rochelle Clark on the occasion of her 80th international.
““It felt awesome, we came here to put our stamp on the series and that’s what we did,” said New Zealand captain Fiao’o Fa’amausili. “I think we really came together and we wanted to start on the whistle and that’s what happened. The English came back at us in the second half and we just bounced back again so I think the girls lifted at the right times in the game.
“We ticked some girls getting their debuts and some girls winning in the black jersey and that’s what we’ve come out with. We’re really happy and the senior players are stoked because we’ve been on a losing streak and now we know the whole team is on a winning side now.”
Her England counterpart Sarah Hunter added: “The whole series is not what we wanted to achieve. We came here to win the series and obviously that didn’t happen.
“We had really focused to come here and finish on a high and unfortunately it didn’t happen that way. We gave New Zealand a bit of a head start in the first half and it’s a long way back against a side as good as New Zealand to give them that head start and to fight back. But all credit to the girls we dug in deep right to the very end.”
While the Black Ferns’ success comes on the back of a remarkable few months for New Zealand women’s rugby with IRB Women’s Sevens World Series and Rugby World Cup Sevens glory, England now travel to North America for the Women’s Nations Cup.
They will face Canada, South Africa and hosts USA in the tournament, which runs from 30 July to 10 August in Colorado.
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- 20 August - Canada's Hannah Darling on winning silver at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing
- 20 August - China's Yueying Gao on winning bronze at the Youth Olympics
- 19 August - Serge Betsen on France reaching the final of the men's event at the Youth Olympic Games