England Women repeated Saturday's dose when they beat the world champion New Zealanders 21-7 at Esher on Tuesday evening, thus taking the three-match series after their 10-0 Twickenham win on Saturday.
The win by three tries to one is all the more surprising after the 11 changes England made to Saturday's side and after England's defeat in two matches with France recently.
Wing Georgina Roberts, skipper Katy McLean and hooker Vicky Fleetwood touched down for tries, with McLean adding two penalties to hand last year’s Rugby World Cup finalists a resounding win. England next take on the Black Ferns in the final game of the series on Saturday at Esher RFC.
England coach Gary Street said: “I am so proud of the performances the players have put in, but also really glad that I had faith in the whole squad to make 11 changes for tonight’s game as it proved justified.
“It wasn't just about getting the points tonight that was important but it was the attitude and the strength the players showed. They didn't panic when I made the changes to the starting line-up, instead they showed real character.
“The backrow was superb tonight. With three young players starting, they were outstanding. Alexandra Matthews in particular was a revelation playing as an 18-year-old against the world champions.
“I have promised the players I will pick the best available side for Saturday’s game but selection will not be easy given the performances of all 26 players in the squad but I am already looking forward to the final game on Saturday already.”
New Zealand also made many changes to their starting XV for this match with seven new players.
From the kick off saw England drive forward and put the Black Ferns under immediate pressure. Lock Tamara Taylor made a good break but in the end a penalty came their way and flyhalf McLean stroked it over with ease, taking a 3-0 lead after just two minutes.
The momentum continued for England with wing Georgina Roberts scoring the first try of the evening on just nine minutes. Again more pressure from England saw New Zealand under the cosh and centre Kim Oliver picked up a loose ball and sent a perfect long pass to set-up Rachael Burford, who had the legs to power through the Black Ferns' defence to send Georgina Roberts on the right wing. England led 8-0.
From an untidy scrum, New Zealand scrumhalf Kendra Cocksedge broke and flank Justine Lavea crashed over for a try. 8-7. England continued to dominate the half and a Katy McLean penalty made the score 11-7 at half-time.
England's superiority continued in the second half and Kay Wilson came close to scoring. Then Katy McLean went through a gap and scored. 16-7 after 47 minutes.
From an England line-out Vicky Fleetwood burst through the New Zealanders. 21-7 with 12 minutes to go.
Tries: Georgina Roberts, Katy McLean, Vicky Fleetwood
Pens: Katy McLean 2
For New Zealand:
Try: Justine Lavea
Con: Kelly Brazier
England: 15 Kay Wilson, 14 Georgina Roberts, 13 Rachael Burford, 12 Kimberley Oliver, 11 Michaela Staniford, 10 Katy McLean (captain), 9 Natasha Hunt, 8 Alexandra Matthews, 7 Marlie Packer, 6 Hannah Gallagher, 5 Tamara Taylor, 4 Rebecca Essex, 3 Laura Keates, 2 Amy Turner, 1 Claire Purdy
Replacements: 16 Victoria Fleetwood, 17 Sophie Hemming, 18 Rowena Burnfield, 19 Margaret Alphonsi, 20 La Toya Mason, 21 Emily Scarratt, 22 Katherine Merchant
New Zealand: 15 Kelly Brazier, 14 Katarina Whata, 13 Shakira Baker, 12 Amiria Rule, 11 Renee Wickliffe, 10 Rebecca Mahoney, 9 Kendra Cocksedge, 8 Casey Robertson (captain), 7 Justine Lavea, 6 Lydia Crossman, 5 Kalani Matapo, 4 Vita Robinson, 3 Mel Bosman, 2 Karina Penetito, 1 Kathleen Wilton
Replacements: 16 Stephanie TeOhaere-Fox, 17 Muteremoana Aiatu, 18 Eloise Blackwell, 19 Aroha Savage, 20 Emma Jensen, 21 Teresa Te Tamaki, 22 Hazel Tubic
Referee: Philip Davies (England)
Assistant Referees: Paul Kimber (England), Ken Morgan (England)
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