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Black Ferns sweep series in style

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Sportal.co.nz     20 Jul 2013     Getty Images

Despite conceding the opening points it was New Zealand who stormed out of the blocks with an emphatic display on attack. Steered superbly by first five-eighths Kelly Brazier, the hosts scored 17 consecutive points through tries to Claire Richardson and Aroha Savage to take a 17-3 half-time lead.

Any thoughts of a one-sided affair looked to have been thwarted when Rochelle Clark - marking her 80th game for England - with a try. New Zealand responded almost immediately to seal the match and a sweep over the World Cup finalists.

Savage's first Test try in 10 matches was due reward for the outstanding flanker, who delighted her home crowd with a strong ball carrying game.

Brazier converted two tries and a penalty for a personal haul of seven points as an out-of-sorts England were left to ponder where their confidence and structure had gone.

Discilpine was also a factor for the visitors, with Harriet Millar-Mills yellow carded for disrupting the breakdown with five minutes to go.

Replacement halfback Kendra Cocksedge then scored after the full-time siren had sounded to land a telling blow for the visitors, who were outscored four tries to one in an entertaining encounter.

The 21-point drubbing was a game to forget for wing Kat Merchant, who played in her 50th Test for England.

Despite the defeat there was a strong showing once more from Marlie Packer, who started 2012 as the third choice for the No.7 jersey. If there was any doubt of her ability ahead of this series, it has well and truly been put to bed.

The dead rubber was set to be an entertaining affair despite New Zealand securing the series 2-0.

Dominant in the second game, England clearly looked rattled by New Zealand's venomous backline. The visitors never settled into their work on attack, relying only on a strong maul and lively lineout.

England scored the opening points within the opening five minutes through a penalty to Katy McLean, but it was all in vain as a clinical New Zealand went to work through the forwards.

Slipping defenders at will, flanker Aroha Savage and No.8 Casey Robertson stormed over the advantage line with ease as New Zealand dined on some loose defending.

Savage, in particular, was impressive as a sloppy England dropped tackles and lost out on possession too frequently for their own good.

Both teams trudged off the field with New Zealand 17-3 ahead to a satisfied crowd in Pukekohe, but New Zealand coach Brian Evans would have been left frustrated by New Zealand's initial showing in the second half.

England looked to have regained their confidence, and when Clark scored from a lineout drive the deficit was reduced to 8-17 with some 35 minutes to play.

But any thoughts of a comeback were thwarted when Winiata finished off a superb backline move that had all the makings of the classy backline expected by pundits and followers alike.

From there England looked defeated and their frustration boiled over as Millar-Mills was booked for disrupting the breakdown with four minutes to play.

It proved enough time for New Zealand to score one final try through Cocksedge. The Canterbury halfback also converted her own try to seal what was an emphatic finish to the three-Test series.

New Zealand 29 (Claire Richardson, Aroha Savage, Selica Winiata, Kendra Cocksedge tries; Kelly Brazier 2 con, pen, Cocksedge con) England 8 (Rochelle Clark try; Katy McLean pen) HT: 17-3