Last-minute heartbreak for England! Women’s team LOSE rugby World Cup final as they fail to overcome having player sent off against New Zealand as as thousands cheer them on at home or in rugby clubs back home in UK
The Women’s England Rugby team have suffered a heartbreaking 34-31 defeat at the World Cup final against New Zealand.
It was a match of high drama which saw England’s Red Roses enjoy a strong and dominating first half, but they were pipped to the post with a try from their rivals The Black Ferns in the last nine minutes.
Less than three minutes into the final at Eden Park stadium in Auckland, England full-back Ellie Kildunne scored a try out wide on the right wing and the team converted it to take an early 7-0 lead.
Just 10-minutes later hooker and RAF flight lieutenant Amy Cokayne scored her first of three tries, before Emily Scarratt converted a second time to take it to 14-0.
While New Zealand fought back with three tries of their own, two converted, England closed the first half with it all theirs to lose at 26-19.
But their rivals came back with a vengeance in the second half, with The Black Ferns’ Stacey Fulher scoring within seconds, albeit missing their conversion.
England manager Simon Middleton then made a controversial decision to switch out captain Sarah Hunter for Poppy Cleall.
England’s Lucy Packer, top, is unable to stop New Zealand’s Amy Rule from scoring a try during the final of the women’s rugby World Cup at Eden Park in Auckland
New Zealand players celebrate after winning 2022 world cup
England’s Emily Scarratt, right, is tackled by New Zealand’s Stacey Fluhler during the final of the women’s rugby World Cup at Eden Park in Auckland
Three minutes later and New Zealand scored again to take the lead at 26-29, only for England’s Cokayne to complete her hatrick minutes later placing England back in front on 31-29.
A nail-biting battle ensued with still 30 minutes on the clock and multiple chances on both sides.
However it was the home team who managed to score within the last nine minutes, taking the final score to 34-31.
The final broke the record for the biggest ever attendance for a women’s rugby match, with more than 40,000 tickets sold.
More than 140,000 fans will have been at the games, more than any other tournament after the total attendance in 2017 was 45,412.
Joanah Ngan-Woo of New Zealand competes in the line out during the Rugby World Cup Final match between New Zealand and England at Eden Park
Santo Taumata of New Zealand is tackled during the Rugby World Cup Final match between New Zealand and England at Eden Park
The success of the event in New Zealand will boost England’s hopes of selling out 80,000-seater Twickenham when they host the World Cup in 2025.
Meanwhile back home, Brits across the country woke up early to cheer on their countrywomen.
Thousands of fans flocked to local rugby clubs to watch the action from 6am this morning.
There have been eight women’s rugby union World Cup finals – England have made seven but only won two.
New Zealand have won five, five of the last six, and beaten England four times, four in the last five.