England vs New Zealand LIVE: Result, final score and reaction from women’s rugby Test today

·30-min read
Lydia Thompson in action for England (Reuters)
Lydia Thompson in action for England (Reuters)

England will attempt to complete a double over New Zealand when the two sides meet for the second time in as many weeks this Sunday. Simon Middleton’s side completed a spectacular seven-try rout of the world champions last week at Sandy Park, with Abbie Ward, Ellie Kildunne, Lark Davies, debutant Holly Aitchison, Abby Dow and Zoe Harrison all crossing the line in a 43-12 victory.

“We’ve got them next week as well. We can’t get complacent. We need to look what we can do better for next week,” Harrison told BBC Sport after the victory. “Today we were really looking at ourselves. Even in the Six Nations we’ve been looking towards the World Cup.”

Follow all the live action below.

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England vs New Zealand

  • England thrashed world champions 43-12 last weekend

Simon Middleton on some of England’s individual performances

17:20 , Harry Latham-Coyle

“I thought Zoe Harrison was exceptional again, and Amy Cokayne was sensational.

“Abby Dow is the best finisher in world rugby at the moment. Her and Portia Woodman were firing off today. It was a great head-to-head.”

Poppy Cleall and Simon Middleton react to England’s win

17:17 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Poppy Cleall: “The girls - what a great job they did. I pretty much had an armchair ride! It was a huge honour to lead them out. When the bench came on, they really helped us keep up that tempo.

Simon Middleton: “We’ve got plenty work on. The next two weeks will be big for us - we’ve got a squad of players who need to get opportunities. There are areas where we need to get better. We missed a lot of chances, but we made them look very ordinary at times.”

Work to do for New Zealand

16:53 , Harry Latham-Coyle

The Black Ferns next head for France for two meetings with the second best team in the Northern Hempishere. It should be a useful gauge of where this New Zealand side actually are, surely stung by being so uncompetitive in back-to-back weeks, but with a grounding of Test rugby behind them.

16:39 , Harry Latham-Coyle

FT: England 56-15 New Zealand

16:39 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Simon Middleton told The Independent before these two games with New Zealand that these encounters were as much about what the two sides learn about each other ahead of next year’s World Cup than the results themselves. You would think, then, that Middleton will be rather pleased with the learning that his side are simply in a different stratosphere to the reigning world champions on this evidence, utterly dominant across 160 minutes of largely one-sided rugby.

Eight tries this week and another performance of all-encompassing excellence from the Red Roses, and the Black Ferns have been dealt back-to-back record defeats.


16:36 , Harry Latham-Coyle

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

TRY! England 56-15 NEW ZEALAND (Portia Woodman try, 80 minutes)

16:35 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Has Portia Woodman scored her second? She has!

A remarkable finish from Woodman, somehow surviving Sarah McKenna’s tackle and the efforts of an arriving Lydia Thompson to squeeze over. She had been set away by fellow Olympic gold medallist Stacey Fluhler, bursting through a rarely-sighted midfield chasm and producing a delicious lofted pass to put Woodman in space.

The conversion isn’t there, and that’ll do for an excellent afternoon for England.

TRY! ENGLAND 56-10 New Zealand (Abby Dow try, 79 minutes)

16:33 , Harry Latham-Coyle

No stopping Abby Dow this time! The ball slips free from Black Ferns hands inside the England half and Poppy Cleall is swiftly upon it, putting the ball in the hands of her faster teammate and asking her to set off for home.

A fierce fend, a speedy sprint, and Dow takes England beyond the half-century.

Zoe Harrison is again true from the tee - she hasn’t looked like missing today.

England 49-10 New Zealand, 78 minutes

16:30 , Harry Latham-Coyle

New Zealand try mightily to find a fissure in the England defensive line and a third score but fail to do so, not aided by an untimely bang to scrum-half Bayler. Carla Hohepa is forced to rush a hacked kick and the Black Fern in front of her is offside as she collects the sliced effort. England penalty, and Sarah McKenna returns to restore them to 15.

England 49-10 New Zealand, 78 minutes

16:28 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Helena Rowland receives some treatment as we wait for a scrum, while Aurelie Groizeleau has wandered over to the big screen to check something. The crowd cheers as the French referee smiles as her own image is shown on the screen...

Ah, here’s the footage! A stray trip from Lagi Tuima as she brought a Black Fern to ground and England will be penalised. Curiously, there is no card for Tuima despite the offence. New Zealand take the scrum, anyway, so the players will pack down again with Ariana Bayler, who has replaced Kendra Cocksedge, able to feed it.

England 49-10 New Zealand, 77 minutes

16:25 , Harry Latham-Coyle

More good attack from the Black Ferns, Stacey Fluhler with a lovely feinting inside-to-outside step, and Portia Woodman able to toss the ball inside as England, still without Sarah McKenna, of course, look short of players on the left.

But England just about get bodies across as Les Elder feeds infield and a stray pass is knocked on along the floor as Carla Hohepa can’t quite get down low enough to catch the grass-trimmer.

England 49-10 New Zealand, 75 minutes

16:23 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Claudia MacDonald has replaced the excellent Leanne Infante at scrum-half and awaits service from her forwards, but England can’t claim possession and New Zealand are able to attack, eventually gaining scrum feed inside the England half, which the two sets of eight will pack down for after Cheyelle Robins-Reti has received some treatment.

England 49-10 New Zealand, 74 minutes

16:22 , Harry Latham-Coyle

50:22! England first kick rather aimlessly right down the throat of Portia Woodman, ever a danger in broken field, but Harriet Millar-Mills just about handles the flyer in open space.

And at the second attempt England’s booting is brilliant, Helena Rowland producing a delightfully directed kick that tumbles down 20 yards out and arcs for the touchline, where England will have the lineout.

England 49-10 New Zealand, 70 minutes

16:20 , Harry Latham-Coyle

That try has maybe just put an extra pep in New Zealand’s step, Ruahei Demant with a delectable piece of footwork to make a half-break.

That’ll knock it out of them! Lagi Tuima deposits Carla Hohepa r on her back before Hannah Botterman makes a substantial connection of her own in the tackle, and the white-shirted bodies pour through to win a breakdown penalty.

TRY! England 49-10 NEW ZEALAND (Stacey Fluhler try, 69 minutes)

16:18 , Harry Latham-Coyle

They can! New Zealand have clearance to spin it with penalty advantage and though Patricia Maliepo’s whipped pass hits the deck, Cheyelle Robins-Reti scoops it up off her shoelaces and ships it onwards for Stacey Fluhler, who shows the sort of speed that have made her such a threat in sevens in blazing beyond Abby Dow for the corner.

The conversion isn’t there but New Zealand now have ten more minutes against 14 players to make further dents in this sizeable England advantage.

YELLOW CARD! Sarah McKenna is sent to the sin bin! England 49-5 New Zealand, 68 minutes

16:15 , Harry Latham-Coyle

That’s a little bit cynical. New Zealand finally make a line break as they enter the England 22 and with Portia Woodman waiting for a potentially scoring pass, Sarah McKenna knocks on deliberately. Off she is sent for a ten minute sit-down, though there is just enough cover present to prevent the penalty try.

Can New Zealand snare a second up a player?

TRY! ENGLAND 49-5 New Zealand (Lark Davies try, 65 minutes)

16:13 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Four scores for England’s hookers! Amy Cokayne has taken a well-deserved rest but Lark Davies continues her remarkable scoring form, again giving great thanks to her forward mates who clear a pleasurable route to the line for the Loughborough rake. An accurate dart from Davies, swiftly in position at the back, and over she goes.

Zoe Harrison converts. Copy, paste.

England 42-5 New Zealand, 63 minutes

16:11 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Intercepted! Leanne Riley’s sticky mitts are in the right place at the right time again as she makes an excellent defensive read and gets in a passing lane! She sets about sprinting for the corner but won’t have the gas to get there, and New Zealand force a knock-on.

But England win a penalty for a churlish hit off the ball and will go back to that most fruitful well - a lineout drive in the corner.

England 42-5 New Zealand, 62 miuntes

16:10 , Harry Latham-Coyle

More changes than a DJ with particular affection for a single David Bowie song - Maud Muir and Sarah McKenna are brought on for England while Carla Hohepa joins the New Zealand backline.

England 42-5 New Zealand, 62 minutes

16:09 , Harry Latham-Coyle

England are nearly held up as Holly Aitchison is sent on a charge down a rather blind midfield alley, but they smuggle the ball back and are able to clear,

New Zealand then draw a penalty after a Simon offload hits the deck and England infringe at the next ruck.

England 42-5 New Zealand, 60 minutes

16:07 , Harry Latham-Coyle

New Zealand think they are in through Portia Woodman but the ball has long since been knocked forward, prompting more chances for changes - the England skipper arrives, with Sarah Hunter replacing long-time teammate Marlie Packer in the back row, while New Zealand introduce Kennedy Simon as Alana Bremner, very quiet today, takes leave.

England 42-5 New Zealand, 58 minutes

16:06 , Harry Latham-Coyle

England had made a number of changes just before that lineout, with Hannah Botterman and Lark Davies on in the front row and Harriet Millar-Mills lending her weight to the second.

New Zealand answer with a switch of their hooker and tighthead, with Amy Rule and Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate on.

TRY! ENGLAND 42-5 New Zealand (Leanne Infante try, 57 minutes)

16:05 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A horrible mis-cue at the lineout and Leanne Infante capitalises! Grace Houpapa-Barrett is on the wrong page of the hymn sheet as she throws to no-one in particular, and Infante can’t believe her luck as she catches at the tail of the lineout, wide-eyed and grinning as she scores.

Two more points to the tally for Zoe Harrison.

England 35-5 New Zealand, 55 minutes

16:03 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Dow denied again! England win a penalty and Leanne Infante takes it quickly, darting about before Kendra Cocksedge finally corrals her. England sweep the ball to the left after Abbie Ward ploughs a mighty furrow up the middle, and Ellie Kildunne’s pass again gives Dow chance to power over in the corner.

But New Zealand get bodies across and decisively drive Dow into touch.

NO TRY! England 35-5 New Zealand, 53 minutes

16:00 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Abby Dow scythes through! A brilliant break from the Wasps flyer, darting off her blindside wing and weaving between the tacklers having been put into the space by Helena Rowland’s crisp inside pass...

Which is ruled just forward! It looks pretty flat, but that’s a very, very good call live from the officiating team. Probably about right - Dow denied

TRY! England 35-5 NEW ZEALAND (Portia Woodman try, 50 minutes)

15:58 , Harry Latham-Coyle

And finally the Black Ferns are on the board! Another advantage with which to play, and some nifty handling in the outside channels from Stacey Fluhler and Cheyelle Robins-Reti leave Portia Woodman more than enough room to score in the corner.

Kendra Cocksedge doesn’t quite get enough on her conversion attempt, but something to cheer for the Black Ferns.

England 35-0 New Zealand, 49 minutes

15:56 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Another penalty is coming, allowing New Zealand a free play, but Patricia Maliepo’s little dribble through is short of the power required to trouble the England defence, who flop upon it.

Back we will come then, and New Zealand call for the scrum option with the penalty as Poppy Cleall gets a warning for her side from the referee.

England 35-0 New Zealand, 48 minutes

15:55 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Or not! A fine drive from New Zealand and the scrum penalty is awarded their way, to be kicked for the corner.

England drive early at the lineout and after a crossfield kick fails to find Portia Woodman, the Black Ferns tap and go and set about bashing against England’s door.

England 35-0 New Zealand, 47 minutes

15:53 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Better from the Black Ferns! For the first time all afternoon they work the ball to space, first Portia Woodman’s slighter frame dancing dangerously and then Grace Houpapa-Barrett like a runaway train down the left tramline having lurked with chalk on her boots and having been found well by a looping wide pass.

Her infield offload is superbly gathered but the next pass is knocked on to waste an excellent attacking opportunity.

TRY! A HAT-TRICK! ENGLAND 35-0 New Zealand (Amy Cokayne try, 45 minutes)

15:51 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Try number three for the England hooker! There’s little illusion to this particular hat-trick, a buried beneficiary of the maul for the third time with the Black Ferns again unable to quell the English eight.

Zoe Harrison continues a faultless day from the tee.

England 28-0 New Zealand, 43 minutes

15:49 , Harry Latham-Coyle

And as New Zealand fell it illegally Poppy Cleall calls for more of the same. Zoe Harrison obliges with a kick for a five-metre lineout.

England 28-0 New Zealand, 42 minutes

15:49 , Harry Latham-Coyle

What shapes can England cut in attack? Abbie Ward is well held as lock partner Zoe Aldcroft finds her with an offload but there is space as the ball is worked back to the right wing, Abby Dow hit hard but not before making 15 metres or so.

A penalty and England inevitably kick for the corner.

England 28-0 New Zealand, 41 minutes

15:47 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Not the best start for the Black Ferns - a soft penalty conceded straight after the kick off.


15:46 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Back underway at Franklin’s Gardens

New Zealand back out there

15:46 , Harry Latham-Coyle

The Black Ferns make their way out early, readying themselves for the restart with England still in the dressing room. Here come the hosts, roared back out by the crowd. Surely there will be no comeback? The Black Ferns tend to finish strongly, but 28 points is a mammoth margin...

England dominant

15:44 , Harry Latham-Coyle

England will be very pleased with their work, though. Pretty much everything has gone to plan - so much so that head coach Simon Middleton has the time to have a chat with the broadcasters at half-time having given, presumably, a rather simple instruction of “more of the same” to his team.

HT: England 28-0 New Zealand

15:36 , Harry Latham-Coyle

That was all rather comprehensive, England utterly dominant, perhaps even to a greater extent than a week ago. A shade over 9,000 home fans at Franklin’s Gardens have had plenty to cheer as the world champions have been once more out-muscled and out-played, unable to find any attacking flow and struggling to disrupt England’s structured game. Three of the tries have come from maulings that have rather told the tale of a properly one-sided affair.


15:33 , Harry Latham-Coyle

TRY! ENGLAND 28-0 New Zealand (Amy Cokayne try, 39 minutes)

15:33 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A mirror image of her first! Amy Cokayne has her second as England kick for the corner, maul strongly and allow their hooker safe, steady passage to within sniffing distance of the white line.

A final fall to the floor and the requisite grounding, and England have four before half-time. Zoe Harrison sends the players down the tunnel as she converts and this has been totally one-way traffic in a first half the Black Ferns will wish to forget.

England 21-0 New Zealand, 38 minutes

15:30 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Left and right England spread the ball and closer and closer they go, but they can’t quite find a telling punch. Another penalty, though, and you can guess for where this is destined...

England 21-0 New Zealand, 37 minutes

15:29 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A lineout free-kick sees New Zealand opt for a scrum, but they fail to clear beyond the outer reaches of the 22 as England continue to pile on some pressure. More attacking ball for England to work with as Abby Dow runs it back with purpose.

England 21-0 New Zealand, 35 minutes

15:27 , Harry Latham-Coyle

That’s nearly very clever from the England captain, Poppy Cleall thinking she has spotted the ball straying beyond the line as England drive the Black Ferns back, and thus removing the standard offside lines. It hadn’t quite, though, and Cleall is thus in an offside position as she gleefully darts around the side of the ruck and grounds for what she thinks is a legitimate score. Sharp knowledge of the laws, as is expected of a real student of the game, but no try on this occasion.

England 21-0 New Zealand, 34 minutes

15:26 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Not this time! Aurelie Groizeleau peeps her whistle - England have players in front of the ball as they shift the point of emphasis of the drive.

England 21-0 New Zealand, 33 minutes

15:24 , Harry Latham-Coyle

England make more good progress in possession and a sliced kick from Cheyelle Robins-Reti will give them lineout ball inside the New Zealand half as it flies out on the full.

Another penalty and once more for the corner...

England 21-0 New Zealand, 31 minutes

15:23 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Ayesha Leti-I’iga has been quiet since the opening ten minutes but she finally gets a chance to open up her stride, nearly burning Helena Rowland on the outside. The Olympian does well to tug the elastic and bring Leti-I’iga down but the Black Ferns keep the momentum going, with Kendra Cocksedge shimmying dangerously.

An outstanding retreating tackle forces the ball to pop free, though, and England clear.

England 21-0 New Zealand, 29 minutes

15:21 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Nearly for England! Having won a battle of the boot they play off the top of a lineout and Abby Dow is darting into space, but only thanks to a pass from Helena Rowland that is forward out of the hands. Dow might have cantered in, too.

England 21-0 New Zealand, 27 minutes

15:19 , Harry Latham-Coyle

That is eight penalties against New Zealand now but that is a much better defensive set, first disrupting the lineout and then rushing up to force a knock-on from anxious waiting hands.

England 21-0 New Zealand, 26 minutes

15:18 , Harry Latham-Coyle

New Zealand are able to make little of their possession and England are soon back on the attack after a Maliepo clearance, Ellie Kildunne drawing a penalty with a dangerous carry.

Another lineout, another meaty maul, and another penalty, which England will have to be content with as New Zealand just about defuse a cross-field kick from Zoe Harrison, that hops menacingly like a vicious rabbit. England head for the corner to see what more profit they can find at the set-piece as Kendra Cocksedge’s return restores the Black Ferns to fifteen players.

England 21-0 New Zealand, 24 minutes

15:16 , Harry Latham-Coyle

That doesn’t look good at all for a grimacing Brooker as she is helped off by two medics. Patricia Maliepo, the prodigious Auckland fly-half, is pressed into early duty in her stead.

That’ll hearten the Black Ferns, who are doing better and better at the breakdown - England fail to secure clean ball and are pinged for holding on for a third time.

England 21-0 New Zealand, 23 minutes

15:14 , Harry Latham-Coyle

England maul superbly again, the Black Ferns powerless to stop that particularly rumbling mass at the moment, a penalty again coming as England play away.

Back we will come for that, actually, but not before Grace Brooker has gone down in real bother. The Black Ferns centre had stayed down having fallen awkwardly in trying to tackle a stepping Lydia Thompson, and her day looks to be done as she produces a few cries of anguish.

England 21-0 New Zealand, 21 minutes

15:11 , Harry Latham-Coyle

But normal service is soon resumed as England deconstruct the Black Ferns’ maul and will feed a scrum as it collapses down like an imploding building.

And that’s a sizeable shove! Vickii Cornborough takes the encouraging taps of her teammates as she and Sarah Bern put the heat on and win a scrum penalty, allowing England the easy clearing route.

England 21-0 New Zealand, 19 minutes

15:10 , Harry Latham-Coyle

With Kendra Cocksedge off, Cheyelle Robins-Reti will deputise at nine and feed a scrum that follows the lineout, and after the Black Ferns, two penalties twice allow them to make their first foray towards the England line.

England 21-0 New Zealand, 17 minutes

15:07 , Harry Latham-Coyle

England are properly at it. Another fine piece of work from Helena Rowland, driving a kick superbly wide of a now under-resourced New Zealand backfield as the Black Ferns remodel after Cocksedge’s sin-binning, with Ruahei Demant unable to get across. England advance some 40 metres for the New Zealand lineout.

TRY! ENGLAND 21-0 New Zealand (Penalty try, 16 minutes)

15:06 , Harry Latham-Coyle

PENALTY TRY! It’s reasonably clear on the replay that but for Cocksedge’s reaching hand Thompson would have been over untouched, and having deemed it deliberate, the referee has no choice but to award the seven-point score.

Cocksedge is duly yellow carded, as is the law, and England are threatening to deliver another real, real thumping.

PENALTY TRY? Upstairs we will go...

15:04 , Harry Latham-Coyle

The maul again gets a-moving and Leanne Infante looks set to put in Lydia Thompson having broken from the back of it, but Thompson fumbles. But was that a deliberate knock-on from Kendra Cocksedge? There looks to be contact with the ball, but is it in grasp of a tackle? The officials will gather for a gander at the big screen...

England 14-0 New Zealand, 14 minutes

15:02 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Thompson is at it again soon after, another defensive hit of magnitude as the Black Ferns play rather aimlessly. One phase later and they are forced to hold on - England penalty and back into the 22 Zoe Harrison directs her pack. with her kick for the corner.

England 14-0 New Zealand, 13 minutes

15:01 , Harry Latham-Coyle

There is a certain intensity to this England performance that the Black Ferns have thus far been unable to match. Lydia Thompson exemplifies it by rusing up and laying the hammer on the much larger Liana Mikaele-Tu’u, a percussive tonk as she slams into the number eight’s chest.

TRY! ENGLAND 14-0 New Zealand (Ellie Kildunne try, 12 minutes)

15:00 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Try number two! It is all too easy for England, first punching great cavities close-in through Poppy Cleall and Sarah Bern and then finding New Zealand under-resourced out wide. A swift transfer to the left and Ellie Kildunne is over off the crisp pass of Holly Aitchison.

Zoe Harrison converts. Ominous signs for the Black Ferns.

England 7-0 New Zealand, 11 minutes

14:59 , Harry Latham-Coyle

England twice make progress, first left, then right, but Leanne Infante plays the territory game with a perfectly-weighted box kick for the corner.

New Zealand take the lineout swiftly but Kendra Cocksedge’s clearance is poor - England lineout ball ten metres out.

England 7-0 New Zealand, 10 minutes

14:57 , Harry Latham-Coyle

To compound matters, the New Zealand restart fails to travel the requisite ten metres. England will feed the scrum at the centre-point of a pitch that looks in good condition.

TRY! ENGLAND 7-0 New Zealand (Amy Cokayne try, 9 minutes)

14:56 , Harry Latham-Coyle

What a weapon that England maul has become! Lark Davies profited last week and her replacement Amy Cokayne rides the chariot perfectly, England getting a nudge on and able to make swift rumbling progress for the line, Cokayne flopping over to open the scoring.

Zoe Harrison adds two more from the tee and, just as in Exeter, England draw first blood.

England 0-0 New Zealand, 8 minutes

14:55 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Not quite! Held up as New Zealand get bodies beneath the ball. Back for a penalty, though, and England fancy a mauling - poked for the corner.

England 0-0 New Zealand, 7 minutes

14:54 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Scintillating from Helena Rowland! The ten-cum-centre scythes through having spotted a half-space, just uable to find a waiting Holly Aitchison with what would have been a try-scoring pass.

Here she goes again! This time on the arc to the right, fending off a tackler and eventually felled just short of the line. Close-in carries, are England over?

England 0-0 New Zealand, 6 minutes

14:53 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A platform, this time, and New Zealand play from it, Helena Rowland just about clinging on to a fading carrier. Ayesha Leti-I’iga is hit well as she tries to weave, and the Black Ferns soon go off their feet after a crunching hit from Sarah Bern stalls their momentum.

England 0-0 New Zealand, 4 minutes

14:51 , Harry Latham-Coyle

The first packing down brings about the almost inevitable reset as referee Aurelie Groizeleau looks for early stability. And that’s not right, either - a free kick this time with Hannah Botterman pinged for an early engagement. New Zealand are content to go back into burly battle as they take the scrum option.

England 0-0 New Zealand, 3 minutes

14:50 , Harry Latham-Coyle

New Zealand’s lineout struggled last week but their first effort is solid enough, and Portia Woodman gives England an unneccessary reminder of her threat with a first jink and jive off the right touchline, shedding one would-be tackler and nearly aonother.

A midfield knock-on means it will be England scrum feed, though, and a first chance for both sets of eight to have a shove-off.

England 0-0 New Zealand, 2 minutes

14:48 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Back come England through the dancing feet of Helena Rowland, skipping past one tackler. Sarah Bern carries strongly into a sliver of space, but when Lydia Thompson is dragged back having tried to find open pasture down the right edge the England right wing is forced to hold on.

England 0-0 New Zealand, 1 minute

14:47 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Kelsie Willis takes the first high ball of the afternoon and charges into the England chasers, with New Zealand immediately looking to play deep in their own territory.

A fumble on the right nearly allows England to gain possession but there is space to the left, spotted by Kendra Cocksedge at the base of the ruck and exploited through Grace Houpapa-Barrett, who puts Ayesha Leti-I’iga on. Lydia Thompson wresetles her down and New Zealand box kick.


14:45 , Harry Latham-Coyle

We are underway.

England to kick-off!

14:44 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Helena Rowland has the ball in her hands - England will kick-off, New Zealand readying themselves for the first catch on a chilly afternoon at Franklin’s Gardens.


14:43 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate and Carla Hohepa lead the Black Ferns in their Haka, the rest of the squad starting in two lines and then uniting in one as they march towards the England squad.

England turn their backs and come together in a ring as New Zealand launch into their final refrain. That’s a message!


14:41 , Harry Latham-Coyle

The New Zealand players share a chuckle at the conclusion of “God Defend New Zealand”, while England look rather ready at the end of the similarly-themed “God Save the Queen”.

Out come the players

14:37 , Harry Latham-Coyle

As has become tradition, two great flags welcome the players to the pitch, along with a set of rather warming flamethrowers. Plenty of energy as the two sets of 23 run out.

One to watch - Alana Bremner

14:32 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Alana Bremner had a mixed debut last weekend, taking her try excellently with a long-limbed dash for the line from the 22 but seeing yellow soon after as New Zealand’s infringements accumulated.

New Zealand will be desperate to mend a lineout that simply failed to get off the ground a week ago, and Bremner will have a key role to play, as well as around the field. She has been one of the most impressive players in the Farah Palmer Cup over the last couple of years.

One to watch - Helena Rowland

14:24 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Described by her head coach as “a special player”, Simon Middleton had intended to start Helena Rowland at fly-half this week but Zoe Harrison made herself undroppable with her Sandy Park star-turn, which means Rowland steps in at inside centre.

The pair have largely been deployed the other way round since Rowland’s debut 12 months ago but this configuration has had past success - Saracens won the inaugural final of the Premier 15s with the playmakers in combination.

Rowland was left physically and mentally exhausted after a long season finally ended with a fourth place finish at Tokyo 2020, but having been allowed a bit of time to recharge before returning at Loughborough, this is a chance to show the sort of performance that seemed to have seized her the starting ten shirt in the Six Nations.

“Going away to sevens definitely changed my game a lot,” Rowland said in September. “The opportunity to be in a full time athlete and in a professional programme for the best part of two years was massively beneficial. I think I have come back a different player. I think from a confidence point of view, coming back in I am much more confident to take people on and back myself more.”

One to watch - Portia Woodman

14:22 , Harry Latham-Coyle

It is a mild surprise that Portia Woodman is not joined in the New Zealand team by fellow Olympic sevens champion Kelly Brazier, but the full-back is not quite ready to return. Woodman is, though, a player who is perhaps, in a crowded field, the most feared winger in the game whether playing fifteens or sevens.

Devastatingly quick and possessing a percussive fend, she lends added star quality to a New Zealand backline that largely failed to impose themselves at Sandy Park, other than the impressive Ayesha Leti-I’iga. Glenn Moore will be hoping for, well, more.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

One to watch - Poppy Cleall

14:17 , Harry Latham-Coyle

It will be a proud day for Poppy Cleall, leading England out for the first time . Her form has been irresistible for most of the last two years and gets an opportunity to start at her week-in, week-out number eight spot, and the further opportunities to carry that it should bring.

She will combine with Leanne Infante, a sometimes fiery foe at club level when the pair have battled in fixtures between Saracens and Harlequins, in England’s new leadership team - they are two knowledgeable, talkative leaders. Simon Middleton is hoping to see how England get on without both Sarah Hunter and Emily Scarratt against top-class opposition as he continues to plot his way towards next year’s World Cup on antipodean soil.

Team News - New Zealand

14:14 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Having been so heavily beaten, it was always likely that Glenn Moore would look to refresh his Black Ferns side, and so he has. Portia Woodman is the most high-profile addition, fit again after missing out with a knock at Sandy Park and adding real threat on the right wing.

Team News - England

14:13 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A handful of changes for England, most notably in the pack, where Poppy Cleall shifts back to number eight and takes the captaincy from Sarah Hunter, the Saracen leading England for the first time. There is an injection of Harlequins’ might in the front row, with Vickii Cornborough and Amy Cokayne promoted to the starting side, while Alex Matthews fills the six shirt as England re-slot their jigsaw to create a different final image.

Behind the scrum there is just a single change - Helena Rowland takes the place of Lagi Tuima to combine with former Saracens teammate Zoe Harrison, so impressive last weekend.

England vs New Zealand

14:09 , Lawrence Ostlere

England will attempt to complete a double over New Zealand when the two sides meet for the second time in as many weeks this Sunday.

Simon Middleton’s side completed a spectacular seven-try rout of the world champions last week at Sandy Park, with Abbie Ward, Ellie Kildunne, Lark Davies, debutant Holly Aitchison, Abby Dow and Zoe Harrison all crossing the line in a 43-12 victory.

“We’ve got them next week as well. We can’t get complacent. We need to look what we can do better for next week,” Harrison told BBC Sport after the victory. “Today we were really looking at ourselves. Even in the Six Nations we’ve been looking towards the World Cup.”

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