England down to 14 players for 62 minutes at Eden Park


Lydia Thompson sent off in Rugby World Cup final

England made a blistering start to the Rugby World Cup final to lead 14-0 after 13 minutes, but just five minutes later they were reduced to 14 players for the remainder of the match.

Lydia Thompson was sent off for a dangerous tackle on New Zealand‘s Portia Woodman, who left the field after appearing to be knocked out in the collision.

The incident happened after Woodman burst down the wing towards the England 22. Ellie Kildunne put in a half-tackle and as Woodman passed the ball inside Thompson came across to make another tackle and made head-on-head contact.

When it was reviewed by the TMO, referee Hollie Davidson said: “There is a clear head-on-head contact, she’s coming across at speed, it’s reckless and I can’t see any mitigation.”

So the result was a red card for the winger and England would play 62 minutes of the final at a numerical disadvantage.

Up until that point, England had looked in control, albeit that the Black Ferns were finding room to attack in the wide channels.

Ellie Kildunne crossed for the opening try after just three minutes following a well-worked attack that went left and then right, and then Amy Cokayne crossed from the back of the famed Red Roses maul.

New Zealand narrowed the gap with a maul try of their own from Georgia Ponsonby after kicking for touch from the penalty for the Woodman tackle, but England hit straight back with a 22-metre rolling maul, with Marlie Packer touching down.

There was another Black Ferns try, from Woodman’s replacement Ayesha Leti’I’iga as they exploited the extra space in the back-line, but England hit back again through their maul, Cokayne scoring.

The Black Ferns had the final say of the half with another maul try from Amy Rule to make it 26-19 to England at the break. Could England hold on with 14 players or would New Zealand expose more holes in the second half?

It remained extremely tight and competitive with the lead changing hands several times in the second half, but ultimately New Zealand triumphed 34-31. The Black Ferns are world champions.

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