England deal lineout lesson to Black Ferns

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Lynn McConnell     17 Jun 2017     Getty Images

The defending women's world champions wanted to make a statement during the New Zealand tournament ahead of the World Cup later in the year and they left the Black Ferns camp with plenty to think about ahead of that tournament.
It was England's second win in New Zealand and their first since 2001.

England's presence of mind in their lineout drives was seen when New Zealand didn't contest lineouts, nor challenged the maul. It is a common tactic of coach Glenn Moore, but if the ball was not transferred none of the England players were off-side and twice they marched New Zealand back, the second time resulting an a penalty kick to the corner and a lineout move which produced a try for Marlie Packer to put England out to a 24-14 lead with 27 minutes left.

Another lineout maul, after 67 minutes, put the issue beyond doubt with replacement hooker Vicky Fleetwood scoring the side's fifth try compared to three scored by Black Ferns

England made the best possible start after right wing Lydia Thomson made a strong run down her flank before linking back outside to set up a ruck which opened up space on the left for centre Emily Scarratt to score the try after 1min 58sec.

New Zealand took time to get their hands on the ball but once they did they built momentum through the pack and when hooker Fiao'o Fa'amausili took the ball up the centre it created some continuity play with lock Charmaine Smith taking a strong tackle before the ball was released for second five-eighths Chelsea Alley to make two strong runs.

Then Fa'amausili was in the action again to slip the ball to halfback Kendra Cocksedge who raced around the ruck, chipped ahead and then won the race to the goal-line to open New Zealand's scoring after nearly nine minutes.

Both sides continued to provide chances without being able to finish them off. Scarratt made a break in the 19th minute and attempted a pass in the tackle only to see Black Ferns wing Portia Woodman leap to intercept the pass and clear out on a 60m run to the line.

However, the English forwards, led by flankers Marlie Packer and Alex Matthews, put pressure on the Black Ferns defence which was already struggling with its lineout work. Also contributing was fullback Danielle Waterman with some incisive running into the backline.

It didn't help that in the midst of a long-range England lineout drive, Fa'amausili was sin-binned for bringing the maul down just out from New Zealand's line. Given another chance at the maul, England rolled New Zealand back and it was lock Abbie Scott who went over for what was the score-levelling try.

A bad mistake from the second half re-start allowed England to set a lineout deep in the New Zealand half. They worked the ball across field and gained another lineout when Cocksedge speculated a kick out. From the lineout Packer made a strong run off the back and the ball was played on the blindside where Thompson beat Woodman with a solid fend to score in the corner.

Scorers: New Zealand 21 (Kendra Cocksedge, Portia Woodman, Victoria Subritsky-Nafatali tries; Cocksedge 2 con; Kelly Brazier con) England 29 (Emily Scarratt, Abbie Scott, Lydia Thompson, Vicky Fleetwood, Marlie Packer tries; Scarratt 2 con). HT: 14-14