England 14 New Zealand Aotearoa Maori 10
England, who were crowned Amsterdam 7s champions last weekend after also defeating New Zealand in the final, ran in two tries and kicked two conversions to seal the victory in the one off fixture at the home of English rugby.
The fixture also marked an historic day with New Zealand women playing their first international at Twickenham stadium. For England, however, they will be smiling after winning two consecutive games against a side who hadn’t been beaten in nine years of international sevens rugby until last week.
England Sevens Head Coach Simon Amor said: “I am delighted. We have made a big step-up today and the girls know that.
“We were a big messy in some places, but for most of our players they had never played at Twickenham before, let alone in front of a passionate crowd like this so this was a big day.
“It’s great that we have won two tournaments in a row and two finals against New Zealand, but we are by no means the finished article and we have still got a long way to go.”
The clash was a thrilling game from the first whistle to the last with both teams in the thick of the action. After four minutes Richmond’s Emma Layland handed England a 5-0 lead with a nice try after the ball went astray off the back of a New Zealand line-out and the England hooker ran in. Richmond’s Alice Richardson converted.
New Zealand bounced back just before half-time when some creative work from Black Ferns stalwart Anna Richards set-up Selica Winiata who then dummied her way through England’s defence to score. Crucially Richards missed the conversion keeping England 7-5 ahead at the break.
After the restart a quick tap penalty and a break from Ngahuri Thomas put the tourists 10-7 ahead but in the last seconds of the match England refused to give up and stole the win.
Worcester’s Gemma Sharples was in the thick of the action and after a nice pass from Saracens’ Claire Allan, Sharples’ slick run saw her beat two New Zealand players to the line and score. With Richardson adding the conversion England took the 14-10 victory.
England now head to Edinburgh for the Home Nations 7s tournament next Sunday hoping to secure three tournament wins on the trot.
Tries: Layland, Sharples
Conversions: Richardson (2)
Claire Allan Saracens
Susan Day Wasps (C)
Heather Fisher Wasps
Emma Layland Richmond
Sarah Marsh Wasps
Alice Richardson Richmond
Gemma Sharples Worcester
Danielle Waterman Clifton
Joanne Yapp Worcester
– but the sailors praise the new boats
Photo Credit: Dario Belingheri/Bettini Photo
photo David Cannon/Getty images