Black Ferns seal remarkable finish in Hamilton

Getty Images     17 Jul 2013     Getty Images

Any indication the hosts were going to do it easy were thwarted when England took a surprise 6-0 lead thanks to two penalties to England first five-eighth Katy McLean.

The visitors were the beneficiaries of a one-sided penalty count as New Zealand were dealt to at the breakdown.

A 70th minute try to Portia Woodman looked to have done enough for New Zealand to win the series, but a third penalty to McLean gave England a 9-7 lead with time up on the clock.

New Zealand's despair turned to delight as a brilliant team move involving second five-eighths Amiria Rule and wing Portia Woodman put Winiata through for the hosts to seal the win, the series and the International Series Salver.

If the 1000th Test match was to be a showcase of women's rugby, the 1001st certainly wasn't. Despite beautiful weather throughout the day and perfect playing conditions at Waikato Stadium, both sides were guilty of poor handling errors.

Both sides will need to examine their ball control ahead of Saturday's third Test at ECOLight Stadium in Pukekohe as the series looks to come to an entertaining end.

The motives for the two sides couldn't have been any different heading into the second Test. For England, a win would see them in with a shot of securing their first win in New Zealand since 2001. The hosts, however, were looking for their first home series win over England in eight years.

New Zealand were dealt an early blow with the withdrawal of former captain Victoria Grant to injury, with Portia Woodman called into the starting wing spot while Selica Winiata moving to the vacant fullback position.

Questions surrounding England's ability to bounce back from a disappointing 10-29 defeat was called into question as early as the opening minute, when Katy McLean's kickoff landed well short of the required 10 metres.

However, she regathered to help steer her side around the park in a confidence-building effort ahead of the third Test in Pukekohe on Saturday.

She was aided by first Test tryscorer Marlie Packer, whose contribution on defence was only shaded by her ability to pick up valuable metres when it was called for.

New Zealand No.8 Casey Robertson was again outstanding for New Zealand, with the Canterbury No.8 continuing to break tackles from the opening quarter.

New Zealand were given a boost when England lock Jo McGilchrist was yellow carded for a high tackle on first-five Kelly Brazier. But instead of capitalising on the advantage they found themselves defending their line as their ball handling evaded them.

Brazier was a standout for New Zealand, with the Sevens star sprinting some 60 metres only for her side, almost characteristically, to turn the ball over at the breakdown as half-time rang through Waikato Stadium.

New Zealand looked the fresher of the two sides following the break and looked determined to overhaul the 0-6 deficit.

Brazier continued to build as the game wore on and had support from second five-eighths Amiria Rule, who ran the ball to create pressure for the hosts.

New Zealand's efforts were typified in the 60th minute, when a superb break from fullback Selica Winiata resulted in a five metre scrum that was turned over by England. The hosts regained the scrum only for another knock on to thwart any opportunity that presented itself.

Woodman wouldn't be denied her second try in as many appearances thanks to a superb team move, but her try was nullified by McLean with 90 seconds to play.

However, New Zealand's unpredictable backline came to the fore. Winiata found the voice of the 1200 fans in attendance when she crossed for the match winner as England hunched in defeat.

New Zealand 14 (Selica Winiata, Portia Woodman tries; Kelly Brazier 2 con) England 9 (Katy McLean 3 pen) HT: 0-6