England lose in Canada

Sarah McKenna. Picture: rugbymatters.net

Sarah McKenna. Picture: rugbymatters.net - Credit: Archant

Harpenden’s Sarah McKenna started for England Women in Super Series tie

England Women couldn’t make it two wins out of two in the Rugby Super Series on Wednesday, going down to a 26-7 defeat to New Zealand at Red Deer Titans Park in Alberta, Canada.

The Black Ferns proved too dominant for Simon Middleton’s developing side, running in two tries with the experienced Kendra Cocksedge kicking 16 points.

England, who had beaten the USA 39-13 on Saturday, started well with powerful No 8 Alex Matthews claiming the first try of the day on 16 minutes after some good work from wing Lydia Thompson. With Emily Scarratt converting, England went 7-6 ahead after two earlier Cocksedge penalties.

New Zealand responded well and soon capitalised with a strong lineout and drive. England held firm until a missed tackle saw fly half Victoria Subritski-Nafatali sneak through and score under the posts. Cocksedge made easy work of the conversion before adding a third penalty just before half-time handing the Black Ferns a 16-7 lead.

After the break, the fierce battle continued between these two rivals. Both sides squandered opportunities close to the try line but in the end New Zealand were the more savvy and edged further ahead with another Cocksedge penalty.

In the final minutes, full back Selica Winiata ran in for a last-gasp try thanks to some incisive play from Subritski-Nafatali. Cocksedge added the extras to make the final score 26-7.

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Head coach Simon Middleton, whose side will now take on hosts Canada in the final game of the Rugby Super Series on Sunday, said: “We played with enormous energy and enthusiasm but our execution and composure were not where they needed to be and the Black Ferns showed a ruthless touch on the opportunities we gave them.

“However, we came here to find out about individuals and the team and there’s nothing like a defeat followed by a short turn around to challenge players both mentally and physically.

“We will regroup and prepare for what will be another huge Test match versus Canada.”