England Thrash New Zealand to win inaugural women’s cup


England became the inaugural WXV1 champions with a 33-12 win over world champions New Zealand in Auckland.

The Red Roses capitalised on a fine start against the Black Ferns to end as the WXV top tier’s only unbeaten team.

Facing the side that beat them in last year’s World Cup final, England started quickly with tries from Alex Matthews, Lark Atkin-Davies and Sarah Bern.

Kennedy Simon and Katelyn Vahaakolo replied. Then Morwenna Talling and Zoe Aldcroft put England beyond reach.

As well as confirming them as the first winners of women’s rugby’s new global tournament, England’s victory also ensured they will stay ahead of New Zealand at the top of the world rankings.

The platform for England’s win was laid by a blistering start as they raced into a 19-0 lead with three tries inside the first 23 minutes

Matthews burrowed over from the base of a scrum and that was quickly followed by an Atkin-Davies try reminiscent of the four she scored against Canada in England’s previous outing.

Bern crashed over from close range after multiple phases to extend England’s advantage over a New Zealand team that began with several sloppy errors but finally clicked into gear before the interval.

Simon and Vahaakolo both crossed after overlaps were created on the Black Ferns’ left side, reducing their deficit to seven points, but England again went through the phases to send Talling over close to the posts midway through the second period.

That score meant New Zealand needed to win by more than seven points and score at least four tries of their own to clinch the title – a task that proved beyond them.

After the match, England captain Marlie Packer was named as the winner of World Rugby’s Women’s Player of the Year award.


England: Kildunne; Dow, Rowland, Heard, MacDonald; Aitchison, Hunt; Carson, Atkin-Davies, Bern, Aldcroft, Galligan, Talling, Packer, Matthews.

Replacements: Powell, Botterman, Muir, Beckett, Allen, Wyrwas, Jones, Breach.

New Zealand: Holmes; Tui, Du Plessis, Brunt, Paul; Demant, Marino-Tauhinu; Henwood, Ponsonby, Rule, Roos, C Bremner, A Bremner, Simon, Mikaele-Tu’u.

Replacements: Connor, Murray, Fisher, Sae, Jenkins, Hohaia, Maliepo, Vahaakolo.