England dominate New Zealand to win WXV title and avenge World Cup defeat | Rugby Federation

England won the first WXV title with a 33-12 victory over New Zealand in Auckland. A year after a heartbreaking defeat against the same team in the World Cup final, the Red Roses achieved a big victory in the new international team competition.

England got off to a perfect start with Alex Matthews scoring the first of five tries in the fourth minute, and the lead was quickly increased to a second for Lark Atkin-Davies. They crossed for a third in the 23rd minute, a simple finish from Sarah Bern, before Ellie Kildunne was denied when replays showed her foot in touch before she went over.

New Zealand came into play two minutes before half-time, with Kennedy Simon scoring her first try and a second in the 49th minute from Katelyn Vahaakolo fueling hopes of a comeback for the hosts who took the score to 19 -12.

But Morwenna Talling ended a period of English pressure with a fourth try and Zoe Aldcroft made sure of victory before the unlucky Kildunne scored another effort.

England’s Sarah Bern makes a tackle in victory over New Zealand. Photograph: Fiona Goodall/World Rugby/Getty Images

After the match, England captain Marlie Packer was named World Rugby Women’s Player of the Year 2023 for her all-round performances, including 11 tries, a world record. Seven England players were named in the dream team, with Packer joined by Atkin-Davies, Bern, Aldcroft, Matthews, Abby Dow and Kildunne.

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