Second defeat sees Black Ferns lose series
The Black Ferns have lost the three-test series against England, going down 17-8 in the second encounter in Aldershot this morning.
This defeat followed the 16-13 loss in the opening test in Esher last Saturday and such is the domination that England have had over New Zealand in the past couple of years, that the Black Ferns' title of 'world champions' stands for very little now.
Played in front of 1140 spectators packed into the Army Rugby Stadium it was an entertaining encounter for the most part, despite just three tries being scored.
England were the bigger and more physical side and while the Black Ferns were the more skilful, they weren't able to build periods of pressure in their opponents' 22.
The result means that Saturday's final game of the series is a dead rubber, but as it is to be played at Twickenham straight after the All Blacks square off against England, it will still be a significant fixture and one where the Black Ferns will need to salvage some pride.
England started the match the brighter, moving the ball well along their backline to look for gaps in the New Zealand defence and they were rewarded for their endeavours with a penalty from fullback Emily Scarratt in the eighth minute.
But having weathered the early storm, the Black Ferns scored from their first real attack with Manawatu winger Shakira Baker going in following a lineout close to England's line.
Midway through the first half England No 10 Alice Richardson cut through the middle of the New Zealand defence and offloaded to flanker Hannah Gallagher, allowing her to score a try.
For the remainder of the first half, the Black Ferns' play would have infuriated their coach Brian Evans with two kicks going out on the full, but there was a strong defensive display from his charges that stopped England adding to their score.
A penalty by New Zealand second-five Kelly Brazier early in the second half closed the gap to two points, but there was little in the way of points scoring opportunities for either side for a while after that as a shower hitting the ground neutralised the attacks of both sides.
The match - and series - was decided when England centre Joanne Watmore made a sweeping run round the back of the New Zealand defence for the home side's second try and Scarratt completed the game's scoring with the conversion.
So with just four days until the next test, some quality work on the training paddock is required for the Black Ferns.
England 17 (Hannah Gallagher, Joanne Watmore tries; Emily Scarratt pen, 2 cons) New Zealand 8 (Shakira Baker try; Kelly Brazier pen) HT: 10-5