Gloucester-Hartpury Women’s Zoe Aldcroft helped England extend their impressive win streak with an emphatic 43-12 win against the reigning World champions New Zealand, in front of a delighted home crowd in Exeter.
It was New Zealand’s first international game for two years, and struggled against an inform England team, who had won their last 16 games going into the match.
England fielded a new team ahead of a transition period ahead of next year’s World Cup, with star centre Emily Scarratt ruled out with a broken leg, with Amber Reed pulling out shortly ahead of kick-off, with Aldcroft stepping into the side at blindside flanker, as England looked to control the game from the start.
Despite the new look team, the Red Roses set down a marker to the Rugby world during their game, with POTM Zoe Harrison finishing with four conversions and a try to ensure a sensational performance for England.
Not only was it a record winning margin for England against New Zealand, but it was a convincing performance against a sub-par Black Ferns side, but that reflected just how strong England’s performance was.
The strong performance never looked like letting up, with Bristol Bears Abbie Ward scoring two tries six minutes apart, with the first conversion of the evening from Harrison ensuring England took control of the match from early, and continued to push before half time.
England’s phenomenal first half ended with a cherry on top in the form of a fantastic run from Ellie Kildunne, with some quick footwork which sent England 17 points to the good at halftime.
The second half brought an early spark of hope to New Zealand, with a fantastic chipped kick forward allowed Alana Bremner to reduce the deficit, but that was the peak of the away sides joy during the match.
Lark Davis restored England’s 17 point lead as she joins the maul over the line, and ensured the 9,748 fans in attendance would see England become the World Number 1 team, and the joy would continue for England.
Holly Aitchison stepped into the XV to replace Emily Scarratt for her England debut, and capped of her day with a try, with Stacey Fluhler and Zoe Harrison scoring late tries to ensure jubilant celebrations for the Exeter crowd.
The celebrations may not last long however, with the teams facing off again next week, with cinch Stadium in Northampton hosting the rematch on Sunday.
To find out your sporting news ahead of England’s rematch, the latest from Gloucestershire and much more, make sure you stay tuned into our Live Blog here!