The Black Ferns have enhanced their reputation as the world’s premier women’s team with a convincing win over England in the Women’s Super Series decider.
The New Zealanders came away with the title in San Diego on Sunday [local time] after defeating the English 28-13 in a top-of-the-table clash, with wing Renee Wickliffe inflicting most of the damage with a well-taken hat-trick of tries.
As a result, the Black Ferns have maintained their status as the number one women’s side in the world, despite their 25-16 defeat at the hands of France last week.
Although Wickliffe’s three tries helped keep New Zealand in the box seat for the majority of the contest, the Black Ferns still had to overcome adversity in the form of two yellow cards, one to hooker Te Kura Ngata-Arerengemate, and another to loosehead prop Toka Natua.
However, the class of Wickliffe was enough for the reigning world champions to clinch victory, with the first of her trio of tries coming in spectacular fashion as she dived in on the right-hand corner.
Her second came through an intercept, while her third was the result of good support play and tidy running lines as she latched onto an offload to 12-point lead.
Wickliffe’s efforts were aided by the boot of star halfback Kendra Cocksedge, who kicked five from six shots at goal to put the match beyond doubt.
England had a say in the match through a try to midfielder Emily Scarratt, who converted her own try and added an extra two penalties, but it wasn’t enough to see off the threat of the Black Ferns.
Earlier in the day, France thrashed the United States 53-14, leaving the hosts to languish in last place behind fourth-placed Canada.
With the Super Series all wrapped up, the Black Ferns will now turn their attention to a two-match series against Australia, with both matches acting as curtain raisers to the Bledisloe Cup tests between the All Blacks and Wallabies in Perth and Auckland next month.
New Zealand 28 (3 tries to Renee Wickliffe; 2 conversions and 3 penalties to Kendra Cocksedge)
England 13 (Try to Emily Scarratt; conversion and 2 penalties to Scarratt)
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