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Women’s Rugby

 

England's reign as world champions was ended by a magnificent performance from New Zealand as the Black Ferns ran in seven tries in Belfast. A penalty try and the first of Lydia Thompson's double helped England lead 17-5 approaching the break. But it was a narrow advantage having dominated territory and possession, and the Black Ferns then took control. Prop Toka Natua led the way with a hat-trick as New Zealand became world champions for the fifth time. Flying full-back Selica Winiata grabbed a brace and Charmaine Smith and Kendra Cocksedge also went over as the Black Ferns regained the mantle of world champions, which England had held since beating Canada to win the title in 2014. It was a dizzying, end-to-end contest for the first 70 minutes, before New Zealand finally managed to secure a decisive lead, and although Izzy Noel-Smith had the last word for England, it was purely a consolation score.

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