New Zealand retain Women's RWC crown

New Zealand retain Women’s RWC crown

17 SEPTEMBER 2006

By Karen Bond and Katy Rank

New Zealand have been crowned IRB Women’s Rugby World Cup champions for an unprecedented third time after a hard fought but pulsating 25-17 defeat of England at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, Canada.

A try by full back Amiria Marsh in the final minute eased any nerves that may have been setting in for the Black Ferns after England kept alive their hopes of snatching victory with a 77th minute try by replacement Helen Clayton.

However it was not to be their day again – just as it was not four years earlier when they lost 19-9 in the final – as the New Zealand celebrations began to mark not only three in a row, but a 14th straight Women’s RWC victory that ensured captain Farah Palmer lifted the trophy again before retiring.

It was England who drew first blood in the match with a third minute penalty by fly half Karen Andrew, their reward for taking it straight to the two-time defending champions and signalling their intentions for the game.

Black Ferns scrum half Emma Jensen missed a ninth minute penalty before a knock on metres from her own line by full back Amiria Marsh put her side under pressure. England though could not turn it into points and New Zealand stole the ball to clear their lines.

Perfectly weighted

Andrews missed the chance to stretch England’s lead with a failed penalty attempt after 16 minutes, allowing Jensen to leave the score with her first successful kick of the game seven minutes later.

A second penalty miss by Jensen seemed to mean the half time score would be locked at 3-3 with neither side willing to give the other an inch in a fiercely competitive match which highlighted the strengths of the women’s game.

However a wonderfully deft cross field kick by Marsh, who had a few minutes earlier received lengthy treatment on what appeared to be a hip injury, found a gap on the right and it was worked through for Monalisa Codling, playing in her third Women’s RWC final, to run to score the opening try of the showpiece.

Jensen added the conversion to make it 10-3 and a long range penalty miss by Andrews for England meant that was the half time score. It would not remain that way for long though, as in the opening minute Melissa Ruscoe found wing Stephanie Mortimer who had the pace to cross.

—continued here.

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