New Zealand 34-31 England: Women’s Rugby World Cup final – as it happened | Women’s Rugby World Cup 2021


Key events

I want to say a huge thank you to all of you for joining me, not only for this final but for all the matches at this World Cup. Women’s rugby has always had these rivalries, fantastic talent and inspiring stories and now it finally has been given the platform it deserves. What a final eh?! It was tense and it went down to the wire. For all the action, Rob Kitson’s report is below. England’s women’s club tournament, the Premier 15s, starts next weekend, get to a game if you can.

The team filter through with their glittering medals, they line up and Demant and Simon are likely to lift this together as co-captains. Eden Park are chanting ‘Black Ferns’, to see this with women’s rugby is so emotional. The impact of this tournament is huge. But now we look to the trophy and they raise it into the air which is met with a thunderous roar. Wow, wow, wow! What a moment. History is made.

The crowd have stayed to see their side pick up their medals, what a special moment for these girls! The noise is deafening and this will stay with them forever. It’s so good to see Woodman okay to pick up her winner medal too.

England have their runner-up medals, the hurt on the faces is just so cutting. Whoever won this, the runners-up would be gutted – sadly for Simon Middleton’s side they are the losers. Middleton collects his medal and he looks so gutted, the work he has done with England is immense though. I hope he remains for 2025.

Sarah Hunter has used the heartbreak of 2017, losing to New Zealand in the final, to get her to this point. She said ahead of the tournament that this is her final World Cup but will she be tempted by 2025 now?

France are getting their bronze medals and England will follow with their runner-up medals.

England captain Sarah Hunter told ITV: “I’m gutted. So proud of the team. We came out fighting, we had our backs against the wall but we never gave up. WE kept coming out. We said in the circle one result does not define who we are as a squad or as people.

“Sport is cruel, it doesn’t always end the way you want to. Credit to New Zealand, they kept coming.

“Regardless of the result if we left everything on the pitch we can be proud and we have done that.”

What are you all thinking? Let me know! Email or Twitter.

New Zealand captain Demant said: “I can’t even put it into words. All I can say is thank you and I am so proud of our team. It’s been really challenging, most people don’t even know when we went north we got pumped. The way the players have turned themselves around, there is so many things that are unseen. So many players who have got us here who aren’t in the team right now.

“It has been so overwhleming. We aren’t used to so many fans. We hope we have made our country proud. We hope we have inspired the next generation.

“I want to say a massive [thank you] to Sarah and her team. Massive congratulations to them, 30 wins in a row, I hope they celebrate tonight too.”

I believe Simon Middleton’s contract comes to an end after this World Cup and there were questions on whether he would re-sign for 2025. I think he will now, it’s a home World Cup too.

England’s winning run comes to an end, they had 30 matches on the bounce. But that has come tumbling down. You can take nothing away from New Zealand, they were really good and it is worth noting New Zealand scored the winning try with both sides down to 14. As an England fan I am devastated but you cannot help but smile for the Black Ferns with a jumping Eden Park.

The reaction from both sides just show how tough this final was. What an incredible performance from England after they went down to 14 after 20 minutes. But in the end New Zealand rallied their first half nerves, the clinicism came into their game – especially with that final line-out.

Full-time: New Zealand 34-31 England

What an ending. What a match. New Zealand celebrate wildly, England in floods of tears.

80 min: New Zealand have stolen the line-out and they win the penalty! NEW ZEALAND WIN.

80 min: England have the penalty again! What is going to happen. I am in floods of tears. Back we come to the pen, they’ll kick to corner again.

79 min: Dow is back on after passing her HIA, New Zealand bring down England’s maul legally. This is surely their last shot here. They are going through the phases here, my heart is thumping! England have the penalty, what will they do here? They kick to the corner. BIG CALL!!

77 min: New Zealand win the ball at the breakdown and surely that is that. Never say never but I think the hosts have this. Demant went to kick that but she tapped the penalty and they are in the attack – an error though as England win the penalty! Oh my, oh my! I can’t take this.

76 min: Muir is on for Cornborough and Tubic, who is on for Fluhler, kicks away. England have the line-out, this could be their last chance to throw a punch and they lose the line-out! The first they have lost and it comes just after Davies comes on for Cokayne. England have it now though with a clean Kildunne catch, England have the advnatage too.

74 min: Jeeeeez, who will win this?? The final has lived up to the hype. Huge.

TRY! New Zealand 34-31 England (Leti-I’iga, 73′)

The NZ line-out is good and England have to put in a great defensive effort here. Kabeya makes a rare miss tackle and they hosts keep coming. They are so fast, Fluhler’s offload is amazing. Fluhler has hurt herself in that and she is off – a standing ovation for her. So emotional. Holmes misses it! The gap is three.

71 min: The replay shows Demant did not touch that, it looks like it skims her arm – that is so so close! They have reversed it. Cleall is remaining on.

71 min: There’s a loose pass from New Zealand and with their attack stalling Holmes kicks ahead, she almost finds her teammate but it is out of play. England to have the line-out and it is sloppy but England have it. Both sides are fighting so hard. Harrison kicks away but it was touched by Demant and England have the line-out. Cleall is receiving some treatment here so there’s a break in play.

69 min: Demant kicks and New Zealand have the line-out. It is clean and they employ the driving maul. Cocksedge kicks away and MacDonald does really well to collect that, England on the attack now but they will do so from deep. Harrison kicks away and now New Zealand come again. I’M SO NERVOUS.

67 min: Dow is coming off for a HIA and Heard is on. Bern remains on.

67 min: New Zealand turn it over at the breakdown, Ward again giving away the penalty there. Time is off again as Bern receives treatment.

67 min: We are back underway and England have the line-out, the driving maul gets them a few metres but New Zealand do really well to bring it down legally. They are running it now, they will have to get some points if they want to feel more secure in this.

65 min: Surprisingly Dow is not off for a HIA

YELLOW CARD! New Zealand 29-31 England (Simon, 65)

Mitigating factor is the initial contact is on the shoulder. Both teams have 14. Ahhhh, Dow is back to her feet. Think she’ll have a HIA.

65 min: I think this will be at least a yellow.

65 min: It’s a clean scrum from both sides and New Zealand come away with it. They kick away and Dow runs it from their own 22, the winger is down here and in pain. We head to the TMO – is there another card?

65 min: England have the scrum and they are marching, a great set piece from the visitors. They have walked it to halfway and now they decide to pass it out. I feel sick. Ward’s pass is loose and Bern knocks on. All that hard work and now New Zealand have the scrum. Ngan-Woo is on for Roos.

63 min: England are 17 minutes away from winning this final but New Zealand are throwing absolutely everything at them. This is a huge testament for the game, I was worried the final could fall apart after the red but it has stayed exciting. Rule is off and Taumata is on.

63 min: England are doing so well to defend but New Zealand are moving closer to the line but England turn it over! Another New Zealand’s Rule us down injured here, there’s a break in play.

62 min: New Zealand kick it away and Kildunne does well to run it from her own 22. A New Zealand player is down, I’m unsure who yet. Harrison kicks it out on the full though and the hosts have the line-out in their 22. New Zealand’s line-out is loose but they get it back as Matthews knocks on. How are the players coping? I am a bag of nerves.

60 min: England have the line-out and it is clean but Ward is under pressure and New Zealand win it on the floor. Jeez Louise. I am so nervous!!!

59 min: England have the scrum after that knock on. They come away with it and have the advantage, the celebrations from the subsequent penalty is huge! Every metre and anything gained is hugely celebrated. What a performance. This could still go either way.

58 min: We are back underway and Murray is okay to stay on.