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Rugby World Cup: Black Ferns win final against England by three points

Renee Holmes of New Zealand celebrates her try during the Rugby World Cup final against England.
Photo: Andrew Cornaga / www.photosport.nz

New Zealand have been crowned world champions at the Rugby World Cup tonight, defeating England 34-31 in the final at Eden Park.

While England started strongly, the team was eventually unable to recover from a red card given early in the match.

The Black Ferns were handed a yellow card of their own with 15 minutes to play, leaving both teams with 14 players on the field, but a try to Ayeshe Leti-I’Iga in the final 10 minutes gave the reigning champs the win, with the hosts holding on and winning a crucial line-out in the final seconds for a three-point win.

England led 26-21 at half-time and scored the first two tries in the game, with a converted try to Ellie Kildunne in the opening minutes and a typically strong drive from England getting Amy Cockayne over the New Zealand line.

England were reduced to 14 players with a red card in the 17th minute, when Lydia Thompson was sent off for a dangerous tackle on Portia Woodman, and the Black Ferns scored their first try to Georgia Ponsonby soon afterwards.

Charmaine McMenamin in action for the Black Ferns against England at the Rugby World Cup New Zealand final.

Charmaine McMenamin in action for the Black Ferns against England at the Rugby World Cup New Zealand final.
Photo: Andrew Cornaga / www.photosport.nz

While the English hit back immediately with a try to Marlie Packer that gave England a 19-7 lead a quarter of the way through the game, Ayeshe Leti-I’Iga then scored in the corner for the Black Ferns.

But the power of England’s rolling maul drove over the line again, with another try for Cockayne before the Black Ferns got one of their own through Amy Rule just before the break.

Two tries to Amy Rule and Stacey Fluhler in the first few minutes of the second half gave the Black Ferns the lead for the first time, but England snatched it back through a third try to Cockayne.

In the end, the final try from Leti-I’Iga proved the difference, with the Black Ferns reigning as world champions.

England's Sadia Kabeya tackles Black Fern Luka Connor during the Rugby World Cup final match.

England’s Sadia Kabeya tackles Black Fern Luka Connor during the Rugby World Cup final match.
Photo: AFP / Michael Bradley

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