Black Ferns lose second test and series to England

Getty Images and James Mortimer     29 Nov 2012     Getty Images

The victory, England’s second in four days against their southern hemisphere rivals, gives Gary Street’s side an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series ahead of Saturday’s finale at Twickenham Stadium.

England didn’t do it the easy way though and were twice reduced to 14 women, first when try-scorer Gallagher was sent to the sin-bin after 65 minutes and then again in the dying moments when Katy McLean was given her marching orders.

Things started well for the home side and after an early spell of sustained pressure England got points on the board with eight played when Scarratt slotted over a penalty in front of the posts.

New Zealand hit back five minutes later with the game’s opening try – smart play from the Kiwi backs freed up wing Shakira Baker to dive over in the corner to make it 5-3 with 14 on the clock.

Despite the setback, England lost none of their attacking nous and continued to put pressure on the Black Ferns.

The breakthrough eventually came after 20 minutes when fly half Alice Richardson superbly weaved between three defenders before offloading to Gallagher to score. Scarratt added the extras to give England a five point cushion which they held until half time.

Scrum half Natasha Hunt was a constant thorn in New Zealand’s side and continued to cause problems into the second period but it was the visitors who got the first points of the half. Centre Kelly Brazier kicked over a deserved penalty to reduce the deficit to two.

With New Zealand pressing, a 50-meter break from wing Michaela Staniford almost brought about the home side’s second try, but good defence from New Zealand kept England at bay.

As Street began to ring the changes, Scarratt had the chance to extend the lead back out to five, but her kick sailed just wide of the posts. Then with Gallagher in the sin-bin, England found a second wind and Watmore showed a good burst of pace to run through and touch down. Scarratt’s conversion gave England a nine-point lead which New Zealand couldn’t dent.

Speaking after his side's win, Street said: "Obviously I'm delighted that we've managed to wrap up the series after the second game. We have used the word 'trust' a lot with the players this week and they showed that in everything they did today. We made the improvements that we needed to make from Friday's game, from our physicality to our ball carrying."

He added: "I'm so pleased with our less experienced players in the second row and back row who underlined that they are world class players in the making. Next up is Twickenham on Saturday which is still going to be a huge game. Playing there is a special moment for any player and there's no doubt that the squad will want to finish the series as champions in front of the Twickenham crowd."