New Zealand Women edged out England Women thanks to two late penalties from Kendra Cocksedge, winning 25-20 at The Stoop on Saturday.
Cocksedge finished with 17 points for the Black Ferns, scoring two tries, as the visitors came from behind to win having been 17-7 down at one point during the second half.
England opened the scoring thanks to a Fiona Pocock try before New Zealand countered before the break, wing Renee Wickliffe crossing with Cocksedge’s conversion handing the visitors a 7-5 half-time lead.
Two tries in three minutes from Harriet Millar-Mills and Lydia Thompson then gave England a 17-7 advantage, as prop Rochelle Clark came off the bench to become the most capped Women’s player of all time on her 116th appearance.
Cocksedge’s double however swung the lead back New Zealand’s way to set up a tense finish.
England crept back ahead thanks to Emily Scarratt’s penalty, making it 20-19, but a yellow card to flanker Marlie Packer and two late Cocksedge penalties meant it was the Black Ferns who finished on top.
For England: 20
Tries: Pocock, Millar-Mills, Thompson
Yellow Card: Packer
For New Zealand: 25
Tries: Wickliffe, Cocksedge 2
Con: Cocksedge 2
Pens: Cocksedge 2
England: 15 Danielle Waterman, 14 Lydia Thompson, 13 Emily Scarratt, 12 Rachael Burford, 11 Fiona Pocock, 10 Katy Mclean, 9 Natasha Hunt, 8 Sarah Hunter (c), 7 Marlie Packer, 6 Izzy Noel-Smith, 5 Harriet Millar-Mills, 4 Tamara Taylor, 3 Laura Keates, 2 Amy Cokayne, 1 Vickii Cornborough
Replacements: 16 Emma Croker, 17 Rochelle Clark, 18 Justine Lucas, 19 Poppy Cleall, 20 Vicky Fleetwood, 21 La Toya Mason, 22 Emily Scott, 23 Claire Allan
New Zealand: 15 Selica Winiata, 14 Honey Hireme, 13 Portia Woodman, 12 Chelsea Alley, 11 Renee Wickliffe, 10 Kelly Brazier, 9 Kendra Cocksedge, 8 Aroha Savage, 7 Charmaine McMenamin, 6 Rawinia Everitt, 5 Charmaine Smith, 4 Eloise Blackwell, 3 Aleisha Nelson, 2 Fiao’o Faamausili, 1 Toka Natua
Replacements: 16 Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate, 17 Aldora Itunu, 18 Aotearoa Mata’u, 19 Charlene Gubb, 20 Angie Sisifa, 21 Kristina Sue, 22 Carla Hohepa, 23 Hazel Tubic