England beat world champions New Zealand to lift WXV title

England won the inaugural WXV title with a 33-12 victory over New Zealand in Auckland.

A year after a heartbreaking loss to the same side in the World Cup final, the Red Roses claimed a comprehensive win in the new international team competition.

England made the perfect start with Alex Matthews grabbing the first of five tries in the fourth minute, and the lead was soon increased by 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 got on the board two minutes before half-time, Kennedy Simon scoring their first try, and a second in the 49th minute from Katelyn Vahaakolo fuelled hopes of a comeback from the hosts as they made it 19-12.

But Morwenna Talling finished off a period of England pressure with a fourth try and Zoe Aldcroft made sure of the victory before the unlucky Kildunne had another effort chalked off.

Following the match, England captain Marlie Packer was named the 2023 World Rugby Women’s 15s Player of the Year for her all-round displays, including a world-leading 11 tries.

There were seven England players named in the dream team, with Packer joined by Atkin-Davies, Bern, Aldcroft, Matthews, Abby Dow and Kildunne.

Sourse: breakingnews.ie

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