England women suffer disappointing defeat

England women suffered a disappointing 38-6 defeat in the second Test match of the tour against New Zealand women (Kiwi Fearns) on Friday night.

The game kicked-off in front of a small but vocal crowd at the Trust Stadium, Henderson Auckland and the England women were buoyed by the presence of England Coach Steve McNamara, James Lowes and a number of the England squad including Sam Burgess.

The Kiwi squad made three changes to the side that won in Whangerai but were still captained by the inspirational Trish Hina a dual All Black who had returned with the Kiwi Womens Rugby Union side after their succesful win in the World Cup.

England started sharp and had some brutal exchanges with their Kiwi counterparts and it wasnt long before England posted the first points of the game when slick handling produced oceans of space on the left of the Kiwi defence. Walsh delivered the telling pass to Lindsay Anfield who raced over to touchdown, Gilmour just failing to add the extras from out wide.

The Kiwis were visibly stunned by Englands strong start and took time to get into their stride, after 17 minutes the Kiwi forwards made metres up the middle and the ball found its way to scrum-half Rona Peters who reached over the tryline, Hina failing with the conversion.

The game was very even and England played the territory game by pinning the Kiwis in their own third of the field.

After 30 minutes the Kiwis started to found their stride and the introduction of Sharmaine Woodman from the bench seemed to add a new dimension to their game. It was Woodman who was next on the score sheet as she sneaked her way over from short range. Hina added the extras and it was 10-4 to New Zealand.

England bravely fought back and sustained pressure, which resulted in a penalty 35 metres out which the ever reliable Natalie Gilmour calmly slotted over.

As the half-time siren approached England were caught out in defence and the powerful Maryanne Collins breezed over, too wide out for Hina to convert leaving the score at half-time 14-6.

England head coach Brenda Dobek was joined in the changing sheds by Steve McNamara and both of them gave their thoughts to the England women.

As the second half kicked-off New Zealand had made two interchanges, the kiwis were quick out of the blocks and an early score by the full-back Sona Fisi put England on the back foot, Hina had now found her kicking range and added the extras.

England had played tremendously for 60 minutes but their massive effort defensively began to take its toll. The Kiwis inspired by the half-back Rona Peters piled on the pressure and this resulted in three more converted tries, two for Smith and one for M’luia.

As the final siren sounded the final scoreline didnt reflect the effort and commitment that England had showed.

As the curtain came down on the three match tour the Kiwi team and management paid the utmost respect to the England team by presenting every tour member with a traditional Maori gift of a precious stone, this signifying their respect and friendship for the England side.

The England team that started the game was as follows…
(1) Lindsay Anfield
(2) Charlene Henegan
(3) Clare Robinson
(4) Natalie Gilmour
(5) Rachel Twibill
(6) Gemma Walsh (capt)
(7) Kirsty Moroney
(8) Emma Slowe
(9) Lois Forsell
(10) Amanda Donaldson
(11) Paula McCourt
(12) Beth Sutcliffe
(13) Jo Watmore
(14) Jodie Cunningham
(15) Holly Freestone
(16) Kim Field
(17) Danielle Titterington

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