The England women’s Rugby League team crashed to a 44-6 defeat at the hands of reigning World Cup champions New Zealand in Whangerei in the first match of a two Test series despite putting on a gutsy display against their hosts.
The game kicked off in glorious sunshine and in front of over 700 spectators against a Kiwi side fielding four new caps but still containing the nucleus of the 2008 World cup winning team.
England started brightly with both Walsh and Moroney almost prising their way through the host’s line but the Kiwi’s robust defence soon forced errors. The first score of the game came when England failed to secure the ball in the tackle and the New Zealand Number 13 went over out wide, the Kiwis failing to add the extras. England replied well and had a sustained period of pressure on the 20 metre line but unfortunately this came to nothing as the ball was spilled on a couple of occasions.After 25 minutes of hard Rugby League the Kiwi full back raced outside the England cover defence to score, again not converted.
England were 8 nil down after half an hour and still fighting hard,the Kiwis hooker then scooted from dummy half to cross the whitewash with the extras making it 14-0 to the hosts.
England then seemed to switch off and were punished twice as the Kiwi centre and then loose forward crossed for touchdowns to leave it 26-0 at the break.
The second half started badly for England when they conceded a try two minutes after the restart but this young England side did not collapse and battled tenaciously against their bigger opponents. Lois Forsell was sinbinned for an infringment around the ruck and the Kiwis took full advantage by crossing on 57 to increase their lead.
In the last 15 minutes England tired after a massive effort defensively and the New Zealanders finished the scoring late on.
England will now be looking to level the series in the second Test in Auckland on Friday October 15.
England: Anfield, Henegan, Robinson, Gilmour, Twibill, Walsh, Moroney, Slowe, O’Toole, Donaldson, McCourt, Sutcliffe, Watmore. Subs: Dobson, Cunningham, Freestone, Forsell.